It should come as no surprise that the cult of vaping, (smoking with a battery powered electronic cigarette or personal vaporizer that simulates the experience of smoking without the combustion) would reach the fashion world, and that one’s instrument of choice would require a stylish and cool design. Pax has been a leader in the industry since it was founded by two Stanford Design Program graduates in 2007, and its sleekly designed vaporizers have long been coveted by aficionados of tobacco and other leafy herbs in the pursuit of harm reduction. Pax vaporizers are now available in Opening Ceremony’s Ace Hotel store and the Soho store, and Pax Labs celebrated its collaboration with the fashion house by sponsoring the Fashion Week after party that was held on September 13th at China Chalet on Broadway in the Financial District.
Opening Ceremony has spawned a fiercely devoted cult following among fashionable young things since its inception in 2002, and tickets to an OC Fashion Week show and after party are highly coveted. Opening Ceremony held its SS16 show during Fashion Week at the massive empty space that is 23 Wall Street, the landmark building that is currently owned by Hong Kong based company China Sonangol. The space is part of three buildings that together comprise over 150,000 square feet of potential retail real estate that has been empty for the past eight years, according to a 2014 article in the New York Post. Opening Ceremony’s founders, Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, made excellent use of the cavernous floorspace by trucking in dozens of live trees and flowering bushes to create a lush background for their runway show, which wound around the sylvan median giving the audience plenty of time to absorb the designs on display. An inspired bit of subterfuge, in collaboration with the New York City Ballet choreographer Justin Peck, had dancers turned models fall convincingly to the floor, before immediately springing back up as the audience gasped in unison.
The after party, held at a pop-up nightclub inside a 2nd floor Chinese restaurant on Lower Broadway called China Chalet, was an invite-only affair that turned into a jam packed mega event. As the night wore on, celebs and other VIP guests turned up to celebrate with Lim, Leon and Pax CMO, Richard Mumby, who, despite needing to catch an early flight out of the city the next day, was on hand to celebrate the Pax vaporizer’s debut in the OC stores during Fashion Week. Pax’s sponsorship included gifts to guests of the new JUUL e-cigarette, including 4 capsules (“JuulPods”) in flavors Tabaac (tobacco), Miint (mint), Fruut (fruit) and Bruule (crème brûlée). The laser light show on the dance floor was punctuated by clouds of vape and smoke rings that were created by seasoned vapers as well as newbies trying out the Pax2 and the JUUL e-cigs during the party. Actress Rosario Dawson, singer and actress Solange Knowles and two of the Angulo brothers, stars of the 2015 documentary film, “The Wolf Pack”, about a family of seven siblings who were home schooled and raised in the confinement of a Lower East Side apartment, were just a few of the notable guests at the late night party.
Each season, OC partners with a variety of sponsoring brands to bring to life its creative vision. The OC store in the Ace Hotel is a highly curated gallery of objects, accessories and fashion that reflect an intuitive sense of the current zeitgeist. It is OC’s finger-on-the-pulse of the culture that makes a team up with Pax vaporizers an inspired choice for the company, and this is something that is not lost on Mumby. Talking before the party became too loud and dark, the CMO said that many people in Pax’s consumer base are part of the fashion world, and OC saw that the vaporizer was a product their consumer would really like, as well as a way for them to engage in a new category. Judging by the amount of vapor that wafted around China Chalet at the Opening Ceremony after party during Fashion Week, OC and Pax are preaching to the converted.