Opening Ceremony puts on a festive drag show at Fashion Week

September 09, 2018 - 10:06 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — Opening Ceremony, the label that always seems to find quirkier and more unusual ways to display its clothes during Fashion Week, upped the ante on Sunday with a festive drag show, featuring a surprise guest performance by Christina Aguilera and a front-row appearance by Nicki Minaj.

The event, called "The Gift of Showz," was created by Sasha Velour, the drag performer who last year won Season 9 of "RuPaul's Drag Race," and starred Velour and a number of other prominent drag performers.

The performers wore items from Opening Ceremony's latest collection as they took the stage at a West Village cabaret, Le Poisson Rouge, to model or to lip sync, cheered on by an enthusiastic crowd that included, in the front row, Minaj. The rapper was attending her first show since Friday's much discussed dustup with fellow rapper Cardi B at a Fashion Week party.

As the performers did their numbers, a running joke emerged that Aguilera was there, but at first, it turned out only to be a cutout figure of her, and then it was an imitator. At the end, though, the kidding was over, and the real Aguilera turned up to delight the crowd with a song of her own.

Over the years, Opening Ceremony's founders, Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, have found a series of inventive ways to present their clothes at Fashion Week. They once had an edible wall of oozing chocolate. Another time, it was a martial arts display. Last year, they gave a 40-minute dance performance.

Leon wrote in a program note that growing up gay in a traditional Chinese family in Los Angeles, he discovered an all-ages club that featured drag shows, teaching him about "a community I didn't know I had been longing for."

"What drew me to drag shows as a teenager is the same thing that propelled Carol and me to start Opening Ceremony," he said. "A celebration of individuality, freedom of expression, and the idea that realizing your dreams is only a fabulous outfit away."

Performers included Hungry, who is based in Berlin and is singer Bjork's makeup artist, and the American drag artist Lypsinka, along with a number of other artists.