Last spring, Opening Ceremony went to the happiest place on earth.
There to present its 2018 collection, the New York it-brand shut down the streets of Disneyland’s Toontown for a special Mickey-infused runway show. Among the collection’s regular buy-now garments, there were also buttery-yellow dresses and baby-blue blouses marked with coveted Mickey Mouse illustrations from the exclusive Opening Ceremony x Disney capsule collection. Championed by co-creative directors Humberto Leon and Carol Lim (also of Kenzo), the show reminded viewers that fashion could bring light and magic to rough times. But what it also did, says Leon, was make history as the first catwalk to be hosted amidst the streets of Disneyland since 1978.
“We brought the musicians and the big band that plays during the Main Street parade to do a special piece for us at halftime,” he says. “It was a really special experience.” In Holt Renfrew Vancouver’s private shopping suite The Apartment, Leon sits alongside Lim, the two reminiscing about the after-dark runway presentation, where the audience was made up of superfans, celebrities, and friends. “No matter what age you were, everyone was smiling ear to ear,” says Lim. “They were ecstatic as if their inner child was coming out. And they just kept saying, ‘This is the most fun I’ve had.’”
Coinciding with Mickey Mouse’s 90th birthday on November 18, 2018 and celebrating the worldwide influence of the House of Mouse, the capsule collection officially launched in November at Opening Ceremony’s New York and Los Angeles flagships, as well as in a handful of point-of-sale locations in Europe. Twelve pieces from the ready-to-wear line, which is made up of 25 limited-edition items, are also available in Canada exclusively at Holt Renfrew.
Opening Ceremony is no stranger to creative collaborations; a few clicks on the trendy line’s website will reveal a variety of capsules with the likes of Vans, Buffalo London, and Birkenstock. “Carol and I have been coined the King and Queen of Collaborations,” muses Leon. But for these California natives (they met studying at University of California Berkeley before moving to New York roughly 16 years ago to start the company), the Mickey capsule takes things to the next level. It was created to be a form of fashionable escapism: elevated Disney garments with signature Opening Ceremony lines and silhouettes. There are silk taffeta yellow gowns and pink skirts with exclusive Mickey and Minnie prints, athleisure wear like crewneck sweaters with the unique Opening Ceremony x Disney logo, and high-end stylized pieces (that can fit perfectly and easily into any wardrobe, notes Lim).
“One of the things we brought to this table was really to re-think what Disney ready-to-wear could be,” says Leon. “A lot of it was really embracing the heritage—storytelling through the archives, but bringing it to modern times.” This is exemplified in a plush faux-fur pullover, adorned with Mickey’s smiling face and oversized polka dots; it is an ode to Disney’s 1960s faux-fur collaboration done in Paris, says Leon, as well as the colouring of the cartoons with pinks, blues, yellows, and greens like in the 1930s comics (a stark difference from widely-known red and yellow caricatures). Opening Ceremony was given the creative rights to draw its own interpretation of Mickey, the first brand to know such freedoms even as Kate Spade x Disney, Vans x Disney, and Kappa x Disney roll out this fall. “That gives us an advantage to make sure that we’re designing something that feels collectible and covetable,” explains Leon. “And now they’re actually part of the language of Disney.”
There is undeniably a universal sentiment felt towards Disney; it is magic, love, happiness, family. The rush of one’s first Disneyland visit, or the ecstatic glee while watching Mickey’s old-school cartoons on a Sunday—for Leon and Lim, the capsule collection is here to spark those feelings of nostalgia and comfort, but with a healthy added dose of style.
Never go out of Style.