mid-century modern and falling models at opening ceremony spring/summer 16

Carol Lim and Humberto Leon imagine a green utopian future, a la Frank Lloyd Wright.

Sep 14 2015, 10:15pm

Every Opening Ceremony show comes with a surprise - a fleet of Ferraris, a performance by Elle Fanning, a Justin Bieber cameo. But at last night's event you could see editors' eyes suddenly widen as a model fell to her knees in the raw Wall Street venue. There was a collective intake of breath. Should we help her? She got up and kept walking.

When it happened again there was a second flash of panic, but no one falls that gracefully onto a concrete floor... And was that recovery maneuver she just pulled actually a pas de bourre?

"We're doing a ballet with Justin Peck and the New York City Ballet opening September 30th, and this was part of a conversation between Justin and I," Humberto Leon explained post-show. "We're doing the costumes for his ballet and we incorporated him into our show. We wanted something that challenged the walk of the models. So those were seven ballerinas from the New York City Ballet."

The dancers, who later went on to perform a full finale routine, also tied in with the show's primary inspiration: the work of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. His daughter Iovanna was a dancer, Humberto added. "We really wanted to celebrate the relationship between him and his daughter."

Mainly though, the show celebrated Lloyd Wright's ideas about how we should live. Titled "The Living City," the collection focused on the architect's vision for utopian, self-sustaining communities in which humans could exist at one with nature. The set involved circular clusters of greenery inspired by Cloverleaf, a cooperative housing development that never got further than the planning stages. There were hefty carved columns and giant glowing lanterns patterned with colorful geometric shapes that echoed Lloyd Wright's stained glass windows.

The clothes also channeled strong FLW vibes, with a mid-century color scheme of burnt oranges and soft earthy brown to match. Satisfyingly globular giant gold buttons stood out on linen button downs, boxy jackets and A-line dresses - they felt in keeping with the architect's love for organic forms. As did the low scooped necklines on flowing silk tunics and tops, and an abstract yellow-and-black print that popped up on wide-leg pants and swinging knee-length coats. Even the shoes had twisted heels, a nod to carved table legs.

The most visible tribute to the architect though was the collection of sweaters and tees designed together with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, complete with little logo patches. And never ones to miss a collaboration, Carol and Humberto also worked with the Edible Schoolyard this season. The plants from the set, we were told, would be donated to the New York-based charity after the show, and benefit kids for years to come. No one would have approved more than FLW. "A lot of people don't realize that he had this idea to build communities where people would sustain their own gardens in the 50s and 60s," said Humberto. "Do we need look at what he was trying to do to move forward?"

Read more i-D fashion month coverage here.


Text Alice Newell-Hanson
Photography Jason Lloyd-Evans