The pandemic has put many at a standstill, but not Opening Ceremony founder Humberto Leon, who over the past year, amid a relocation to his native Los Angeles, has been busy as a waiter at his newly opened Peruvian-Chinese family restaurant Chifa.
In today’s healthy-minded society, he noted, everybody is affected by one intolerance or the other and comes up with disparate culinary requests, so he wanted to turn those dietary conversations he had with clients into something fun. “It was one of the most fun times I had during COVID-19, because I actually started to see people and talk to them, to strangers,” Leon said over a Zoom call.
He and co-founder Carol Lim served a playful recipe, elaborating graphics and slogans reading “Gluten Free. No Pain” or “Vegetables & Proud” splashed across streetwear basics.
Building an entire wardrobe around the concept, the duo focused on jersey, which has defined their 20-year career in one way or another — be it for the bestselling Kenzo tiger sweats when they helmed the brand or the signature Opening Ceremony logoed hoodies.
They used the fabric quite experimentally, for mohair-looking argyle cardigans, cable-knit loungewear sets and loose sartorial tropes bearing a tartan pattern. Women were clad in polar fleece, miniskirts and blazers, while men paired tartan pants, also made of jersey, with varsity jackets. Tie-dyed short shorts for men and flared low-rise pants for women added a dash of early 2000s nostalgia to a collection primarily based on quirky preppy staples.
As masterminds of blockbuster collaborations, which Leon admitted are part of the Opening Ceremony mindset, the duo came up with a capsule collection with Dickies, filled with workwear suits crafted from velvet-looking flocked denim and windowpane tweed sets.
While fall had all the right ingredients, Leon and Lim served a collection lacking that zing that has had kids queuing outside their Lower Manhattan shop for two decades.