The other Opening Ceremony

As one of the world's coolest shops finally arrives in London Katie Dailey talk to its founders

Carol Lim and Humberto Leon - Opening Ceremony founders

Carol Lim and Humberto Leon - Opening Ceremony founders

If you are one of the many fashion fans whose fisrt port of call when reaching New York, Los Angeles or Tokyo is the Opening Ceremony store, then this summer (July 2012) Covent Garden will be seeing a lot more of you (and your wallet), as the shop's founders Carol Lim and Humberto Leon open first a pop-up store, then a permanent one on King Street, a handsome venue just off the market. Boasting fans including Chloë Sevigny (who has designed four collections for the store), Spike Jonze and Jason Schwartzman, Opening Ceremony is set to send London's fashionistas into a frenzy. Our Lifestyle Editor Katie Dailey caught up with Lim and Leon on a rare break from work to find out what we can expect from the capital's first Opening Ceremony.

Welcome to London! What took you so long?

‘We felt our ten-year anniversary was the perfect time to open in London – where we have always dreamed of bringing Opening Ceremony. We love London, and having a store here to feature brands that we have worked with for years, and all the emerging talent, is super-exciting.’

Did you worry that bringing the label here would tarnish a little of its cult, unattainable status?

‘We treat each and every one of our stores uniquely and think about the locality and the neighbourhood they are in. There is specialness and idiosyncrasy to each store. It’s in the DNA of Opening Ceremony to tell original and new stories, so there is always a reason to visit each store.’

Do you have ties with the fashion industry here?

‘We have now, and have always had, a strong relationship with London. Opening Ceremony was the first store to carry Topshop in America! And we have worked with many emerging and top designers from London including Gareth Pugh, Peter Jensen, Peter Pilotto, Mary Katrantzou, Simone Rocha… the list goes on. A lot of young designers in New York that we now sell at the store started their careers as shop assistants in Opening Ceremony! So we hope the tradition continues in London and we can support talent of the future.’

How have you modified the OC experience for British customers?

‘We have looked at what is available in London and how to make a unique experience for the customer. Opening Ceremony is a destination for discovery so you will find that at our Covent Garden space too.’

Why launch with a pop-up?

‘It's a great way to celebrate the London Olympics, which we are so excited about! We have always aligned with the summer Games in some way – our name is Opening Ceremony, after all – so this is the 2012 edition. It also gives us a way to do fun, special products before we open our permanent store.’

How will the pop-up experience differ from the permanent one?

‘We created special products for the pop-up with Chloë Sevigny, Norma Kamali, Proenza Schouler, Christopher Kane, Band of Outsiders, Delfina Delettrez and many other collaborators. So it’s really an of-the-moment, must-have shopping experience, timed with the Olympics. The neighbouring space, which opens in autumn, will be a more robust, 360- degree experience of the Opening Ceremony world.'

‘The pop-up is on two floors with a lot of energy and with goods only found in London, and inhabits a space that we found, whereas the next space we will have entirely created ourselves.’

Why Covent Garden, and not somewhere more aligned to your brand, like Shoreditch?

‘Covent Garden is a historical shopping destination. It’s exciting to us to be central, to take a fresh look at Covent Garden and to introduce our story to the neighbourhood.’

How do you find new designers?

‘By really scouring everywhere. Part of the Opening Ceremony concept is that we go to a new country every year and seek out talent, like we did recently in Argentina, Brazil, China, Germany, Sweden and France. Next is Korea! We love supporting young designers from the very beginning.’

You’ve dipped a toe into celebrity design with Chloë. Have any other stars piqued your interest?

‘It’s a spontaneous decision each time, whether it’s with Chloë or Spike Jonze or Wong Kar-wai or MIA. We are fans of many artists, musicians and actors, so no doubt you’ll see more in the future…’

The Opening Ceremony pop-up is now open at 31-32 King St, WC2E 8JD. See our listing for more details.