Opening Ceremony and Magritte Foundation Collaboration 2014

For those not familiar with the company Opening Ceremony, the name was inspired by the Olympics and has to do with the founders’ love for travel and their appreciation for different places around the world. Humberto Leon and Carol Lim wanted to incorporate an array of countries into their company and they found a unique way to do so. Each year Opening Ceremony chooses a country to focus on and they bring it to their customers in the form of souvenirs and products by native designers. Along with selling various designers’ pieces, Opening Ceremony also has an in-house clothing line that debuted the Opening Ceremony and Magritte Collection in 2014.


Looks from the Opening Ceremony and Magritte Collection, 2014

Belgium had been chosen as the country that year and staying true to bringing Belgium to their customers, OC created a collection that was inspired by the late Belgian artist René Magritte. Womenswear, menswear and footwear was included in the collection and Manolo Blahnik, Vans and Birkenstock were brought on board to produce some of the pieces.


Shéhérazade stiletto by Manolo Blahnik for Opening Ceremony (L) The Beautiful Relations sneaker by Vans for Opening Ceremony (R)


The Dual Reality sandal by Birkenstock for Opening Ceremony

Being life long fans of René Magritte, Leon and Lim incorporated twelve of their favorite Magritte paintings into dresses, jackets, pants and other items.

The face from his Shéhérazade paintings can be seen peering at you throughout the collection. Despite the face being part of multiple Magritte paintings, OC used the one shown below.


Shéhérazade sneaker by Vans for Opening Ceremony (L) Shéhérazade, 1947 By René Magritte (R)

The face from The Beautiful Relations (Les Belles Relations), 1967 was also used. You can see that painting along with Hegel’s Holiday (Les Vacances de Hegel), 1958 on other art infused pieces.


Opening Ceremony’s Hegel’s Holiday handkerchief top and skirt (L) Hegel’s Holiday, 1958 By René Magritte (R)

The King’s Museum (Le Musée du Roi), 1966 was taken from one piece of canvas to another when Vans put the painting on a pair of their sneakers.


The King’s Museum sneaker by Vans for Opening Ceremony (L) The King’s Museum, 1966 By René Magritte (R)

The Lovers II (Les Amoureux II), 1928 ended up on Birkenstocks and if you don’t always go for comfort, it may be worth tracking down a pair of the Manolo Blahnik stilettos that were made. One style has The Blow to The Heart (Le Coup au Coeur), 1952 on them while others incorporate different works. Besides the paintings mentioned, you can see Magritte’s style in six other paintings that were incorporated into the collection.


The Blow to The Heart stiletto by Manolo Blahnik for Opening Ceremony (L) The Blow to The Heart, 1952 By René Magritte

His style is quirky and was greatly influenced during the early 1920’s when he saw The Song of Love by Italian surrealist Giorgio de Chirico. This painting amazed Magritte so much that it impacted the work he would do from then on. He decided he wanted to challenge perception with his paintings and began to use common objects in ways that defied the natural world.


The Song of Love, 1914 by Giorgio de Chirico


The Art of Living, 1967 By René Magritte (L) Collective Invention, 1934 By René Magritte (R)

His work continued down a path of mystery and madness and in 1932, when he was still half asleep, he looked at a birdcage. Instead of seeing a bird he saw an egg. What Magritte took from this hallucination was what he called “a new and astonishing poetic secret.” It led him to paint Elective Affinities (Affinités Électives), 1932 and he went on to use this poetic secret to create many other works. An orange was given a face, a fish was given legs and Magritte’s style of art was born.


Elective Affinities, 1932 By René Magritte

In many of his paintings, people’s faces were covered and staying true to Magritte’s style, OC incorporated this into a photo shoot that was done to launch the collection. None of the models faces were shown.


The Son of Man, 1964 By René Magritte

Some models had their backs to the camera and others had their faces hidden by sheets or common motifs used by Magritte. Sheets were also seen at the launch of the collection covering the faces of the mannequins. This referenced a few of his paintings entitled The Lovers.

Two of the few Magritte paintings titled The Lovers: The Lovers I, 1928 (L) The Lovers II, 1928 (R)

Some believe that the shrouded faces sadly reference his mother’s suicide. René was only fourteen when he watched his mother’s body being removed from a river with her nightgown covering her face. Despite the reference making sense, speaking of his paintings Magritte has said, “People who look for symbolic meanings fail to grasp the inherent poetry and mystery of the image. No doubt they sense this mystery, but they wish to get rid of it. They are afraid. By asking ‘what does this mean?’ they express a wish that everything is understandable. But if one does not reject the mystery, one has quite a different response. One asks other things.”

Looking at the paintings that were incorporated into the collection, one can draw conclusions about what they believe the pieces mean. However, Magritte made it clear that his work was meant to be mysterious. What wasn’t mysterious was that he wanted to make everyday objects shriek aloud in his art. He said this and I would say he accomplished it. Opening Ceremony definitely made ready-to-wear shriek aloud as well.


Opening Ceremony’s The Beautiful Relations dress (L) The Beautiful Relations, 1967 By René Magritte (R)


Opening Ceremony’s The Waterfall top (L) The Waterfall, 1961 By René Magritte (R)


Opening Ceremony’s The Dual Reality top and jeans (L) The Dual Reality, 1936 By René Magritte (R)


Opening Ceremony’s The Lovers II top (L) The Lovers II, 1928 By René Magritte (R)

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