You might have thought you knew Belgium, but that was before you saw Opening Ceremony's Fall/Winter 2014 show. Last night, we took over Spring Studios in Tribeca for our second ever runway show, themed around our featured country of the year. Among the amazements: 4000 pounds of chocolate, a 160-foot wall carved into the shape of a fingerprint, a chocolate scent designed especially for the event, and 55 men's and women's looks inspired by the city of Antwerp.
The central motif of the collection was hands, which appeared in the form of everything from printed trousers to pullovers to hardware on bags. The theme was sometimes obvious, other times hidden: on a bright hooded anorak, dozens of hands were stacked on top of a trompe l'oeil diamond print, while on more minimal coats and dresses, a subtle fingerprint texture curved across neutral fabrics. The incredible men's Kobe oxford shirt incorporated hands in a literal way: its sleeves extend to the knuckles to hook around models' thumbs, looping back around their palms to form an abstract glove.
So what do hands have to do with Belgium? Antwerp, a city known for its incredible architecture and design, was originally named after a myth of a soldier who marked his victory against a giant by cutting off its hand. But of course, the hand is also a part of Opening Ceremony's aesthetic: for SS14, we incorporated metal hands into the hardware of our handbags
, a look that was back this time around with oversized clutches, circular cross-bodies, and backpacks. (Some even featured a quilted print inspired by the iconic pattern of the Belgian waffle.) In men's accessories, a new range of footwear designed in collaboration with Adidas made its debut.
But show was about more than just visual splendor. As soon as guests arrived for the show, they were engulfed by a chocolate smell, created for us by 12.29, a scent branding company. "We added an animalic musk note for the whipped texture and airy feeling," noted Dawn Goldworm, one of 12.29's founders who worked with Carol and Humberto to design the scent.
Chocolate made another star appearance: Callebaut, the 164 year old Belgian chocolate brand, had six scientists engineer a wall of chocolate that dripped in time with the soundtrack by L-Vis 1990
. 4000 pounds of chocolate (poured by 37 people!) were used, and many guests including Kelly Rowland
couldn't help but lick it off the wall at the end. For the less daring, there were mugs of hot chocolate created by Callebaut chefs Patrick Aubrion and Celine Plano, and bars of chocolate printed with the OC fingerprint motif. Two guests (including OC pal and blog contributor
Susie Bubble) found TechPasses in their bars and will go on to win OC designed and Intel engineered smart bracelets.
Check out our photos for a full rundown of the festivities! And stay tuned for more posts on behind-the-scenes beauty, an interview with L-Vis 1990, and videos by KT Auleta
and Poppy de Villeneuve.
Photos by Matthew Kelly, James Parker, Ben Shapiro, Meghan Benson, and Greg Kessler