Pitchfork   The Dissolve   Festivals: Chicago | Paris
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Photos by Greg Kessler

St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery has always been a somewhat subversive space, especially considering it's a place of worship. The church is also one of the few community art spaces left in Manhattan's East Village and, since the summer of 1966, a side-room in the gated complex has been the home of the venerable Poetry Project.

The space made sense for Chloë Sevigny's Opening Ceremony presentation: a mod-influenced line inspired by the clothes of Occupy Wall Street, modeled with faux protest signs and straight-faced, stone-still models. 

The church was outfitted with five music stages, including a main stage that included Sevigny herself and the drum duo I.U.D. The models flanked the other four stages, two women at each end. There was something awkward about the arrangement at first. The stillness of the models placed directly in front of the bands seemed to disarm the performers. Plus for full bands like Bleached, with four members, things were more than a little crowded. After the first round of songs (the bands alternated performances), the musicians figured out how to share an extremely limited amount of space.

Bleached's garage pop paired well with the clothes on their stage, which included a crowd favorite pair of shoes made of clear plastic. 

Light Asylum shared their stage with model Kish Robinson, who you may know as Kilo Kish

Kim Gordon, a longtime friend and collaborator of the designer, who has her own fashion line and has featured Chloë Sevigny as a model in the past, hosted a few headline items on her stage including a hip-length corduroy jacket, a high-waisted pants suit, and a bright red skirt. 

It turns out the way we watch concerts is also a pretty great way to see a new line. By dressing both the bands and the models in the collection, the audience was able to maintain an intense focus. The bands commanded attention, and the models stared blankly through the audience. While waiting their turn, most bands took swigs from provided tiny Champagne bottles.

At hour two, the room hit a sort of equilibrium. The crowd finally seemed comfortable with the routine of rotating to each stage, snapping photos, and squeezing past aggressive networking in progress. The straight-faced models fidgeted only slightly. A few minutes before 3:00PM the house lights went off, the PA was cut, and without an announcement every model and every band disappeared backstage.