Opening Ceremony's Fashion Week Play Just Won Fashion Week

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HIGH CULTURE: Opening Ceremony co-founders Humberto Leon and Carol Lim pose with Dakota Fanning on opening -- and closing -- night of their fashion week play.

The Jonah Hill and Spike Jonze-penned work — starring Elle Fanning, Rashida Jones and Bobby Cannavale — was seriously awesome. This is why.

Fashion Week tends to be a dreary place. Everyone is jaded. Most are wearing black. Hardly anyone looks truly comfortable in his or her own skin. And you can feel despair in the air as bloggers are ignored by street style photographers at Lincoln Center and editors who pride themselves on feeling like rulers of the world find out that their seating assignment (or lack thereof) isn’t as good as someone elses. Which is why 100% Lost Cotton, Opening Ceremony’s highly anticipated play that served as their spring 2015 fashion week showcase, was such an amazingly cool treat: people were genuinely excited to be there.  

Not that attending an Opening Ceremony show is a hard sell, as founders and creative directors Carol Lim and Humberto Leon continue to display some of the loftiest innovation in the game, especially where their presentations are concerned (who can forget last season’s chocolate extravaganza?). But Sunday night’s performance exceeded standard fashion week expectations by leaps and bounds, offering an hour-long, single act performance starring Catherine Keener, Elle Fanning, Bobby Cannavale, Alia Shawkat, Dree Hemingway, Karlie Kloss and John Cameron Mitchell.



As if the surprise cast didn’t offer enough of a “holy crap” moment, the location surely did, as guests were ushered in behind Lincoln Center in what looked like a loading dock and made to wander through the bowels of a stage to get to their seats. The result appeared to be something like a community theater. Until the show started and the curtain came up, revealing the Metropolitan Opera’s majestic chandeliers and vast rows of red seats. Yes, the audience was sitting backstage at the Met.


While the experience itself was special, so was the actual play, which centered on fresh-from-the-Midwest model Jamie (Fanning) and her more experienced “It-Girl” colleague Bella (Hemingway) as they waited at a fitting for an Opening Ceremony runway show. Mitchell (aka the man who wrote Hedwig and the Angry Inch) played a version of Leon, with Keener as a power bitch version of Lim. Cannavale killed it as OC lookbook stylist Brian Molloy, a lonely soul secretly in love with Leon’s husband.

Despite the fact that the play ended with a song-and-dance rendition of Drake’s, “We’re Going Home,” it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. There was that loneliness we mentioned, plus some alcoholism and a rather raw and scathing monologue on the modeling world and the depression even beautiful people face. Even the theme of Opening Ceremony’s spring 2015 collection – the summer of ’91 when real-life Leon and Lim were growing up together in Southern California and their only care was buying Jolly Ranchers and sneaking into pools – was tinged with a sad wistfulness of just how complicated life gets when adulthood strikes.

But back to all of those happy people who wanted to be there (Atlanta de Cadanet, Alexa Chung, famed photographer Bruce Weber, Chloe Sevigny Rosario Dawson, Skrillex, Yoko Ono, SNL’s Kate McKinnon, Carmelo Anthony Mindy Kaling, some Ronsons, Arcade Fire's Will Butler and Joe Jonas among them). Hill — a two-time Oscar nominee — seemed in awe of the fact that he was “a playwright,” which he giddily reminded the audience before the show began.



FROM LEFT: Leon, Kaling and Lim



When it was all over, Jones — who had a small part as Vogue West Coast editor Lisa Love — also seemed to be having a “holy crap” moment of her own.

“Isn’t this crazy?” she rhetorically asked Pret-a-Reporter while scanning the Met.

Fanning, celebrating her live theater debut while sister Dakota watched from the front row, was also beaming.

“I’m, like, so proud of this,” the Maleficent star told Pret-a-Reporter with a smile usually reserved for, well, theater debuts at The Met.  “I mean, I sang and acted at The Met.

Even Cannavale — who won an Emmy for Boardwalk Empire in 2013 — posted an Instagram selfie from rehearsals with the caption: "No big deal. Just acting at The Metropolitan Opera tonight."


The brand’s clothes – as they usually are -- were cool, though we’re guessing most theatergoers only paid partial attention to the modern abstract prints, leather “baby bags” and asymmetrical leather jackets, instead planning on looking at photos of them in the impeccably detailed Playbill-cum-lookbook left on each seat, later.

The play may have been about loneliness. But this typically jaded group left Lincoln Center agreeing on one thing: no traditional runway show would ever feel as fun again.