Doing an evening show on the Sunday of Fashion Week typically guarantees a sea of no-shows. But, when 100% Lost Cotton (Opening Ceremony's one-act play, penned by Spike Jonze and Jonah Hill) debuted that night, the empty expanse of red-velvet seats at The Metropolitan Opera was actually the play's backdrop. The audience itself was seated on risers backstage. There, they got a truly behind-the-scenes glimpse at Opening Ceremony's perspective on the fashion industry. Overall, this performance was one of the most innovative things to happen to Fashion Week since the camera phone.
The play is a parody of the fashion industry and Opening Ceremony's team, with John Cameron Mitchell and Catherine Keener acting as more terrifying, brusque, and deluded versions of OC's own Humberto Leon and Carol Lim. This was a show-within-a-show (think the Fashion Week version of Hamlet's The Mouse-Trap), with "Humberto" and "Carol" preparing for their spring 2015 collection debut, weaving in mini storylines with insecure It Girl, Bella (Dree Hemingway), naive model Julie (Elle Fanning), lovelorn stylist Brian Molloy (Bobby Cannavale), and Lisa Love (Rashida Jones). It was a 30-minute inside joke for those close to the Opening Ceremony family, and perhaps the most insidery, exclusive thing to happen at Fashion Week so far — which is saying something.
As for the play's costumes, the cast described them as "innocent" and "post-Internet" (a bit of a reach) and "the summer of 1991" (more honest) — none of which quite describes Opening Ceremony's special brand of cartoon-cool. The clothes were not "slutty" (as proclaimed by "Humberto"), nor were they "a mess" (as proclaimed by "Carol"). Still, this dialogue definitely colored our perception of the pieces when we saw them up-close afterwards; we viewed the lopped-off sleeves and Intel MICA bracelets at the post-show presentation with a new sense of history and context — albeit one that was completely made up by Jonze and Hill.
In the show notes, Hill revealed that in an earlier incarnation of the play, "a dude's head literally got chopped off." We may question the literality of that one, but there were certainly some minor, metaphorical decapitations that happened throughout the play. For example, the performance showcased how frivolous and catty the fashion industry can be. But, whether it's a joke or not, and whether you even get the joke or not, the show was a new way to take advantage of an audience's attention during one of the most important branding weeks of the year — even if the clothes did come second.