Carol Lim

Paris played with varied dreamscapes this past weekend. Sarah Burton brought to life a fantastical, decaying fairytale, decked in shredded silk and lace with disheveled flowers and ruffles for Alexander McQueen. On the other end of the spectrum, Carol Lim and Humberto Leon envisioned the modern jet-setter’s real life aspirations of looking fresh on the fly for KENZO’s color-filled collection. Akris collaborated with Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto. Céline made fresh tracks Sunday with a collection that went from lingerie slips to English fox hunt—all in a structurally experimental way, of course.

Paris Fashion Week Spring 2016, Alexander McQueen

Images: InDigital 

The flushed goddesses of Burton’s runway, while delicately beautiful, were grounded in personal history. Alexander McQueen traced his heritage back to Huguenot refugees fleeing religious persecution in the 18th century, bringing their covetable silk-weaving craft with them. Exquisite floral jacquards, French lace flowers and figure-tracing ruffles appeared again and again. An embroidered leather jacket in blush with a ruffled neckline was especially striking atop a lace column Victorianesque gown. Occasional modern, tailored pieces kept the collection anchored. But thanks to Burton’s softer approach this season, even the more extravagant gowns— with feathery mermaid skirts or spiraling tiers of lace—leaned toward measured romance.

Shop: current season Alexander McQueen



Opening Ceremony's Carol Lim and Humberto Leon with Solange KnowlesImage courtesy of Greg Kessler Studio

Opening Ceremony co-founders Carol Lim and Humberto Leon keep very busy with their ever-evolving collaborations, accolade-worthy runway shows, creative directing of Parisian label KENZO and raising families. But long before any of this happened, the once-upon-a-time Berkeley thrift buddies cut their teeth at separate corporate gigs, then joined forces and commercial expertise to launch their revolutionary retailer and fashion line in 2001. 

We need a nap just thinking about it, especially after speaking with Lim about maintaining perspective in the fashion industry, buying like you mean it and Opening Ceremony’s multilayered approach to fashion.

New York Fashion Week Spring 2016, Opening Ceremony

The Thread: NYFW went down a couple of weeks ago, and with it, some of Opening Ceremony’s models in the most graceful falls-turned-performance-art tumbles. What inspired that direction over simply showing the clothes (which were equally jaw-dropping)?

Carol Lim: We always try to make it a memorable experience and a marker of time—a memory you can think back to. Of course, we’re super excited about our collection, but we incorporated all of these other elements too. We were inspired by dream homes and the things you pick up on your travels, so we brought in architecture. Both Humberto and I are huge fans of Frank Lloyd Wright, so we thought it would be great to partner with the foundation. There were a lot of layers to the show. 

Image at left: InDigital




Never one to underwhelm, Opening Ceremony‘s inaugural runway show was nothing short of spectacular. The 11-year-old brand, founded by Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, paid tribute to a melange of personal sentiments for spring: Lim’s Korean background, which manifested in the reinterpretation of traditional Korean-style jackets and pants; the designers’ shared love for New York—the company’s birthplace—with an urban-cool overtone that’s ever-present in their collections; and the street-racing culture of Los Angeles, where the designers grew up.

The latter influence made the biggest splash Sunday night as the show opened with a fleet of sports cars filling a cavernous pier off the West Side Highway. Models wore oversized sporty separates in bright, NASCAR-friendly colors, and fitted dresses with thick nylon belts and plastic buckles not unlike the straps on a camper’s backpack. It’s precisely this cheeky reinterpretation of materials and conventions not typically seen in contemporary fashion that keeps the Opening Ceremony customer on the edge of her seat—or, in this case, firmly buckled in.

(See also: Photos from the Opening Ceremony after-party)


Mary O’Regan


Three Minutes With: Kenzo

Kenzo Creative Directors, Carol Lim and Humberto Leon (Opening Ceremony founders) chatted with us about their fall 2012 collection, favorite cities for fashion and their ultimate style tip for women. Check out what these fashion darlings had to say.

Image by Gregory Harris via Interview

Who is the Kenzo woman?
When we design a collection, we don’t picture a specific individual or type of person. Instead, we always want to design for all kinds of women, for all occasions. Within the FW12 collection, we focused on different stories for women, whether it’s a woman getting ready to go out in her chicest outfit, or going for a casual lunch date with friends, so that within the collection there were pieces that worked for every woman and every story.

What were the inspirations for your Fall 2012 collection?
This collection was inspired by interiors. There were sharp lines that evoked the sharp corners and linear elements of an interior landscape together with the softer curves and accents that make a home. The prints for this collection are very special to us. One is a hand-drawn marble print, and there are also fruit prints designed exclusively for us by Spanish art director Juan Gatti that were a play on bowls of fruits as home accents.

If you could give a woman just one style tip, what would it be?
Wear something that you are comfortable in. You could be wearing the latest trend, but if you aren’t comfortable in it, it won’t look good. To us, the most fashionable thing you can do is to look like yourself and embrace your individual style.

What’s next for Kenzo?
We want to push ourselves and Kenzo into the future. Part of Kenzo’s history, and its future, is to inspire people, to make them feel bold, to laugh, to go do something interesting. There is a whole universe to explore with the house, and we’ve only just started a very exciting voyage.

What are the essentials every woman needs in her wardrobe this fall?
Knits are always an important part of a fall wardrobe – knits were an important story in our fall collection for this very reason. They are so versatile, and can really fit any occasion. And of course, fall is a great time to invest in a coat for the season, so we also focused on outerwear. We especially loved the wool coats with the pleated bottom that zips off to become a cropped jacket.

What other fashion designers or innovators  do you admire?
There are so many brands in the industry that we admire for different reasons. We’ve been lucky enough to collaborate with some of these—for example, Juan Gatti is someone that we’ve long admired in the fashion industry, and we collaborated with him to create the exclusive fruit prints for the FW12 collection.

What is the most fashionable city in the world?
New York will always be a city that inspires us—the street style in New York is unlike that in any other city. That being said, we have been lucky enough to travel to many different parts of the world, and each location has been an inspiration to us in different ways.