Founded in 2002 by Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, two friends with corporate fashion creds, Opening Ceremony New York was the first outpost of the now-global enterprise. Today there are stores in LA and Tokyo, an in-house clothing line and an e-commerce site, to name but a few of the Opening Ceremony expansions. And yet the New York branch is the original, and some may say the best of the bunch. And not just because of the sporadic (but legendary) parties they throw, everything from a Ratatat concert to a three-day retail marathon that coincided with the opening ceremony (get it?) of the Beijing Olympics.
Opening Ceremony is a store where fashion, travel and art collide. Taking its name from the Olympics, there is a certain amount of flair, drama and international joie de vivre in the shop. Every year, they focus on a new country, showcasing new talent and selling trinkets and souvenirs. But typically the offerings here are homegrown. The store at 35 Howard Street sells womenswear (across several floors) from brands like Rodarte and Pamela Love, as well as books and shoes. Gents, meanwhile, are well-catered for at their store next door at 33 Howard Street, with brands like Acne, Band of Outsiders and Kenzo (where the two Opening Ceremony founders now work) on offer.