In January of this year, Opening Ceremony sold a majority stake of its business to the New Guards Group and announced it would close its stores and transition its business away from retail. The OC of the future, founders Carol Lim and Humberto Leon said, would be based solely on in-house collections of ready-to-wear and accessories. This news was met with heartbreak. Opening Ceremony’s Howard Street store was one of New York’s most vibrant hubs for downtown culture, routinely bringing together the newest designers with artists, chefs, party girls, and filmmakers. The store’s selection of everything from five-figure Rodarte dresses to $10 candles made it a must-stop shop for tourists and New Yorkers alike. We are all very aware that when we reenter the world following the Covid-19 crisis, the New York we step into will not be the same—it will also be a little less bright. Today, Lim and Leon announced that OC’s outposts will not meet us on the other side.
In a heartfelt Instagram post, the founders outlined the farewell party they had planned to say goodbye to their stores. “We were going to set up a karaoke machine and ask you to sing a song with us. Make you a drink and give you some snacks. We were going to work in the stores for our last month so that we could thank you and hang out the way we did in 2002 when we first opened,” they wrote. “But while that is not in the cards, the feelings of gratefulness and love are still there.”
Opening Ceremony’s e-commerce will continue to operate into early June, with the brand’s re-launch as a fashion collection slated for later in the year. The brand’s new iteration, the founders promise, won’t abandon its original mission: to tie fashion obsessions to culture at large. “Opening Ceremony always operated with a refresh button and more so than ever we are excited to think about what this next phase means. We will relaunch our website this year and continue to use our platform to talk about topics that are important to us. We will continue supporting and uplifting our community, bringing different people from around the world together. We can't wait to celebrate with you in person once again,” they conclude their letter, signing off with love.
How to mark the passing of a retail great? Maybe some at-home karaoke. I think it’s what Carol and Humberto would want.
Originally Appeared on Vogue