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Is Manhattan’s Hippest Boutique Coming to Chicago?

Weighing the possibilities of an Opening Ceremony store in Chicago.

North and Damen, one of the several intersections simply begging for an Opening Ceremony store.   Photo: Creative Commons

Like a pair of tricky journalists, the founders of avant-garde boutique-turned-lifestyle conglomerate Opening Ceremony love to bury the Chicago-centric lede. In early September, California natives Carol Lim and Humberto Leon talked to the LA Times about the lack of creative retail in the United States, the way they’ve never stopped loving Tevas, and, in an almost throwaway remark, their plans to bring their brand of bicoastal cool to the Midwest.

Today, Opening Ceremony has stores in the edgiest fashion centers of the world—New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and London—but when it comes to expansion, Lim and Leon say opening stores in Chicago, Boston, and San Francisco will be their “first priority.” They also mention that these new locations will focus solely on the Opening Ceremony brand, unlike their current stores, which stock threads by Alexander Wang, Band of Outsiders, and Carven along with OC wares.

Chicago could use the hyper-cool style cred of an Opening Ceremony-only store, which would stand out in a scene that swings between independently owned boutiques and, well, Michigan Avenue retail. This still-hypothetical but highly anticipated store would be a natural fit for Damen Avenue’s current shopping scene—snuggled next to Marc by Marc Jacobs and Steven Alan, perhaps?

It’s easy to imagine Opening Ceremony’s urban, vaguely athletic grunge-wear fitting into the city of big shoulders (and rough winters). From the Fingerprint Coating Amorphic Front Coat for a late-fall commute down the lakefront to the Grunge Oxfords for window-shopping and gallery-hopping on Milwaukee, the Opening Ceremony brand could easily become a Chicago staple, if they’d just sign a lease already.

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