Carol Lim and Humberto Leon paid tribute to their long-time friend Spike Jonze with a gallery show of his unseen photos — and a collection inspired by his work.
Opening Ceremony's Carol Lim and Humberto Leon have always done fashion week their own way. Their first ever show, for spring/summer 13, involved a fleet of 20 Ferraris, Porsches, and Lamborghinis (and an audience of 1,200 people). For autumn/winter 14, they showed against a wall of molten chocolate. And last season, they put on a play at Lincoln Center starring Elle Fanning. How do you top that? A one-night-only gallery show of previously unseen photographs by Spike Jonze — photographs of skaters Mark Gonzales and Ed Templeton, of Karen O and Kim Gordon and Thurtson Moore, of Chloë Sevigny, Kurt Cobain, the Beastie Boys, and Björk. It was an encyclopedic, immersive, and hella fun celebration of Spike's and Opening Ceremony's worlds; a personal tribute by Carol and Humberto to their friend and, in Carol's words, "an homage to the medium of film."
"It began as a private conversation between Humberto and Spike," Lim explained. "They spent days going through all of Spike's photographs [dating from 1985 through to 2005]. We met Spike maybe nine years ago, and these images were taken before that, so looking through his work Humberto felt like he got to see a really personal side of him." From there came a collection of clothes inspired by the cool and ease of Spike's photos: "The silhouettes were really based on the comfort of that time period. It was about comfort and confidence."
The looks — shown at Cheim & Reid, photographs all around — riffed on this earlier age of film photography. For the girls, there was a loose, late-70s/early-80s vibe. Cropped flares, shearling jackets, belted work shirts, and a palette of oranges, greens, and browns felt very Shelley Duval in The Shining. There was also a clever use of sepia. For the boys, a sepia-colored coat layered over a T-shirt printed with the Kodak logo created a nice visual pun. (Kodak also printed the artwork for the show.) And another series of men's pieces pulled prints directly from Jonze's archive: in one look, BMX snapshots covered a bomber jacket worn over a T-shirt with a photo print of a young Chloë Sev.
The most inspired piece though may have been the women's zip-front shirt covered in what Lim called the "Heroine Print" — a collage of Spike's portraits of Björk and Kim and Chloë. Seeing it against a backdrop of a much larger version of the same print on the gallery wall — and near video stills from Triumph of a Heart and personal snapshots of Sonic Youth on tour — made you want to bow down at the awesomeness of it all, and of all the incredible women Jonze has captured. "We wish so badly that the show could stay up!" said Lim at the end of the night. "But doing it for one night only makes it extra special."
Text Alice Newell-Hanson
Images courtesy of Opening Ceremony