Coast to coast, Opening Ceremony takes the gold medal for clever concept, out-of-the-ordinary urban togs, and most fantastic following. Using the Olympic Games as a source of inspiration, the N.Y.C. and L.A. indie shopping mecca houses a vibrant smattering of under-the-radar designers, highlighting one country's best up-and-coming labels along with the store's own eponymous line. While Opening Ceremony's core collections and themes remain the same no matter what side of the country you're on, the store's new L.A. locale has a verifiable West-Coast identity that owners-designers Humberto Leon and Carol Lee attribute to their Southern California upbringing.
Housed in an art-deco building that was originally Charlie Chaplin's dance studio, the new West Hollywood location, is, according to Humberto, "very reminiscent of what La Cienega once was." Though the racks are lined with the best New York labels, including Proenza Schouler, Mayle, and Nom de Guerre, the space suggests a lifestyle altogether sunnier. Keeping the interior architecture of the building intact, Carol and Humberto vamped it up with an almost kitschy homage to their formative years. Track-home siding, ceramic elephants, hydraulic jewelry cases, animal floaties adorning mannequins, and a labyrinthine arrangement that Humberto says "is meant to mirror driving in L.A.," create a store that's almost like it's own little neighborhood—an urban meets suburban nook designed for discovery.
Opening Ceremony, 451 North La Cienega Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048, 310-652-1120, www.openingceremony.us