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Lo, a Designer Gift Under $50 That’s Not a Keychain

Consider Opening Ceremony’s new Google collab.

A phone in a pink, marbled case.
One of Opening Ceremony’s Live Cases.
Photo: Google

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Perhaps you’ve had the following experience while searching for presents for the style-minded people in your life during this, our annual gifting season. You open up the websites of a few Very Cool Brands, navigate over to the accessories section, sort by price (low to high), and then spend an ungodly amount of time trying to reconcile your budget with the desire to not buy your loved ones literal crap with a logo slapped on it. “Everybody loves keychains,” begs your fever brain, while struggling to grasp how a candle could ever cost $190. “Right??

Wrong. Nobody wants a goddamn keychain. That is a lame gift.

At Opening Ceremony, $40 can get you two mugs, a cotton-acrylic beanie, a regular old iPhone 6s case, or — as of today — a Pixel or Nexus phone case that changes the device’s background imagery to a matching pattern. One of these things, clearly, is a little cooler than the others.

A brown, fur-looking phone case.
Opening Ceremony for Google’s Live Cases.
Photo: Google
A swirling black and chrome phone case.
Opening Ceremony for Google’s Live Cases.

Following in the footsteps of Jeremy Scott and Jeff Koons, OC’s Carol Lim and Humberto Leon paired up with Google to create a set of Live Cases, which use Near Field Communication to connect with a phone when you snap one on. OC’s designs include cases printed in what looks like pink faux fur, actual animal fur, swirling chrome, and an undulating patchwork of pink, blue, and gray stripes.

A patchwork phone case.
Opening Ceremony for Google’s Live Cases.
Photo: Google

This isn’t the first time OC has hooked up with a tech company: Two years ago, it collaborated with Intel on a smart bracelet that cost $1,000.

OC’s Live Cases are currently available in Google’s online store as well as at Google’s New York City pop-up shop. Notably, they only work for Google’s Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 5X, and Nexus 6P phones, so for all the iPhone users on your list, well, keychains are pretty cute.