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Opening Ceremony’s Political Ballet Show Was ‘A Meditation on the American Melting Pot’

2 minute read

Opening Ceremony, the fashion brand favored by Solange Knowles and Chloë Sevigny, has never shied away from making political statements in addition to sartorial ones.

Last fall, they staged a politically-charged pageant starring the likes of Whoopi Goldberg and Fred Armisen that urged show attendees to vote, so it should come as no surprise that for their most recent show, they skipped the traditional New York Fashion Week runway again in favor of another medium: dance.

In a collaboration with the New York City Ballet, Opening Ceremony designers Humberto Leon and Carol Lim outfitted dancers for resident choreographer Justin Peck’s new ballet “The Times Are Racing,” which debuted late last week.

Trading tights and pointe shoes for jeans and sneakers, the dancers wore slogan tees that demanded action like “Defy,” “Protest,” “Unite,” and “Fight,” as well as other Opening Ceremony pieces inspired by 19th century photographs of Ellis Island. In a press release from the brand, this point of reference “is a meditation on the American melting pot…where individuals from diverse backgrounds crossed paths.”

Drawing on the history of immigrants in America as inspiration was especially poignant given the backlash and protests in response to Donald Trump’s executive order, prohibiting entry to the United States from seven countries on last Friday including Iraq and Syria, just days after his inauguration — a fact that wasn’t lost on Leon and Lim.

“Our collection, and these designs, began with the idea of journeying to America,” Leon said.

See the best moments from Opening Ceremony’s ballet below.

The Spring ’17 collection, which includes a collaboration with Google’s live cases, is now available to shop online.

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Write to Cady Lang at cady.lang@timemagazine.com