How Fashion Brand ‘Opening Ceremony’ Protested at the NYC Ballet

On Friday, President Trump signed an executive order making good on campaign promises to ban an entire religion’s people from entering the United States. Refugees everywhere are prohibited entry for 120 days; Syrian refugees are denied entry indefinitely; citizens from seven majority Muslim countries are not to enter the U.S. for three months.

shaped the performance itself, as choreographer Justin Peck said, so too it influenced Opening Ceremony’s spring collections. Last week, the brand revealed its “Global Varsity Jackets” collection which, as the name suggests, includes nearly 50 varsity jackets representing countries around the world (including two — Iran and Syria — that Trump included in Friday’s executive order). On Saturday, dancers swapped their ballet slippers for sneakers and donned the label’s “Action Capsule” collection.’ data-type=”text” data-reactid=”19″>If November’s presidential election shaped the performance itself, as choreographer Justin Peck said, so too it influenced Opening Ceremony’s spring collections. Last week, the brand revealed its “Global Varsity Jackets” collection which, as the name suggests, includes nearly 50 varsity jackets representing countries around the world (including two — Iran and Syria — that Trump included in Friday’s executive order). On Saturday, dancers swapped their ballet slippers for sneakers and donned the label’s “Action Capsule” collection.

There were no tutus during the Opening Ceremony show, though plenty of Opening Ceremony and Kenzo, the other brand to which Lim and Leon serve as co-creative directors, were in the audience. Dancers wore streetwear that more closely resembled T-shirts you’d see at a campus protest than on a runway: tank tops, in hues whose boldness is only beat by the shirt’s text, mobilizing us to “DEFY,” “ACT,” “SHOUT,” “FIGHT.” There’s no ambiguity: The clothing serves as a call to action.

“I feel like in the past, the ballet hasn’t necessarily directly commented. But this is done in such a way where it reflects what’s happening, but in a way that both allows you to escape and moves you to feel and to react,” Lim told Yahoo Style.

The “Action Words” shirts were not the only statement pieces (ahem) to come out of the collaborative project. Google designed cases for its Pixel phone that complement Opening Ceremony’s collection.

Google collaborated with Opening Ceremony, creating Pixel phone cases that matched the fashion company’s collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Opening Ceremony)

Pageant of the People” attracted Claire Danes, Andrew Garfield, and Aziz Ansari as it championed democracy and diversity. (Saturday’s performance brought just as many notable names, including fashion writer Derek Blasberg, actress and activist Maggie Gyllenhaal, and actor Finn Wittrock.)’ data-type=”text” data-reactid=”33″>This isn’t the first time Leon and Lim have opted out of a traditional New York Fashion Week runway show. Last year, the brand’s “Pageant of the People” attracted Claire Danes, Andrew Garfield, and Aziz Ansari as it championed democracy and diversity. (Saturday’s performance brought just as many notable names, including fashion writer Derek Blasberg, actress and activist Maggie Gyllenhaal, and actor Finn Wittrock.)

As other designers prepare for upcoming New York Fashion Week runway shows, Leon and Lim will keep trying to transform their brand from clothing to cultural commentary.

“I’ve always felt like I wanted to use Opening Ceremony as a platform for a lot of things other than fashion,” Leon said. “Throughout our 15-year run, we’ve always dove headfirst into culture. Politics comes hand in hand.”

Alexandra Mondalek is a writer for Yahoo Style and Beauty. Follow her on Twitter @amondalek. ‘ data-type=”text” data-reactid=”37″>Alexandra Mondalek is a writer for Yahoo Style and Beauty. Follow her on Twitter @amondalek

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