NEW YORK -- Chloë Sevigny's collection for Opening Ceremony made its official New York Fashion Week debut Saturday, an hour-and-a-half long presentation turned raucous round-robin performance by five girl bands that unspooled in an Episcopal church in lower Manhattan.
Although the collaboration between the actress and the niche retail brand is now in its fifth season, it has only one previous New York City runway show under its belt -- a resort collection that came down the catwalk in June 2011. That, says Opening Ceremony co-founder Humberto Leon, has to do with their collaborator’s day job.
"A lot of it has to do with working around her schedule," Leon said at the presentation. "Obviously she’s first and foremost an actress and that's what she's known for so we fit the collections around her schedule and this one happened to work really well during fashion week – just like the last [show] we did worked really well in resort."
Inspiration: In the notes accompanying the show, Sevigny said she found inspiration in "the inhibition of youth, the follies and fashions of teenagers, especially those who stood up to protest in the '60s." Afterward she said the catalyst was something a little more contemporaneous – the Occupy Wall Street movement.
"I was hanging out at Occupy in Union Square and seeing all the kids and how they were adorning themselves for the elements or whatever they were doing and then you look back at the '60s and how they always looked so cute -- even though what they were fighting for was so extreme, their outfits looked sweet. That was the kind of thing I was going for.
The Look: An assortment so thoroughly '60s flavored they could’ve wobbled right out of "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" on their cork-soled platform sandals; A-line miniskirts and jackets and babydoll dresses that were downright flirty, to tomboyish V-neck mohair cardigans and sailor-front trousers. Other pieces, like the striped boatneck dresses and shiny, black, laminated trench coats felt more timeless, and a few – like the Egyptian motif sweatpants and hoodies – felt completely modern.
The collection was grounded in a color palette of black, pink, baby blue and cream with the occasional piece in brown or red. Two of the most eye-catching elements of the collaboration were a custom ribbon lace jacquard in black-and-white or pink-and-white stripes, and bodysuits and tights with an allover intarsia design of symbols including cherries, an arrow-pierced heart, an ankh and the eye of Horus (which the show notes refer to collectively as "the ditsy print"), both of which add a third collaborative layer since they were done in partnership with bodywear brand Emilio Cavallini.
The collection, which ranges from $100 to $800, will be available through Opening Ceremony’s boutiques – including the West Hollywood location – in the fall.
The scene: Five set girl-band tableaux in the nave of St. Mark's-in-the-Bowery (performers included I.U.D., Light Asylum's Shannon Funchess with Rafael Radna, Thinner, Bleached and Kim Gordon + Ikue Mori ) alternated rocking five-minute sets, spending the in-between time standing pretty much stock still while holding aloft picket signs with non-sequitur slogans like "Nancy boy," "flirty fishing," "finger poem" and "time to have sex" while modeling pieces from the fall 2013 collection. (Among the models on display for the duration was Sevigny herself – wearing a mockneck onsie, calf-length laminates skirt and boots.)
Celebrity attendees in evidence included Vanessa Hudgens and Aziz Ansari.
The verdict: While the collection may not be for everybody, it's also not pretending that it is. And the eclectic Opening Ceremony crowd, just-gotta-be-me rebel girls everywhere and those whose closet contents gravitate to the Chloe-like will find a lot worth lusting after.
As for us? if we’d had a lighter, we’d still be flicking our Bic for an encore.