For some there is only one way to dress, and then there are the others. I’d like to think I am an other, and that my style and fashion preferences exist on a spectrum. Why identify yourself one way and claim that this is me today and forever, when you have no idea what the next moment has in store for you? I’d like to view my spectrum of style as having two extreme sides. On one side, the feminine classic exists – think Chanel, and on the other side, the edgy androgynous. That side of the spectrum is Rick Owens, and this other is one of the most intriguing minds in the fashion industry today.
Owens has been showing up to fashion week across the world with jaw dropping productions that make viewers say, what, why and wow all at the same time. From exposing male genitalia to creating the concept of human backpacks, Owens bends the mind and challenges all norms.
Take his Spring 2014 show in Paris as an example. His collection featured black, nude and white clothing worn by women of all shapes, sizes and colors who stormed the runway with aggressive movements and choreographed dance. With scowls on their faces and flailing arms, Owens was trying to say something to his crowd. Unlike most runways at fashion week that year, this runway did not feature your classic white porcelain glamazon who weighs 110 lbs. and stands 6ft. in height. Instead, most of his models were considered plus size for the fashion industry and were predominately black. He challenged the industry and society as we know it to look at fashion and what the messages have been and what they could be. Owens gave a voice to the people for what they have to say in response to a white washed, overly thin, under-representative fashion industry.
Rick Owens Spring 2014
This year Owens created his Fall/Winter collection for all the others. Set to the backdrop of an industrial concrete interior, loud house music pounded the ears of fashion week viewers as the models took the stage. Black contacts, facial prosthetics, protruding foreheads, big frizzy hair and shaved heads paired with leather, fur, suede and draping silk. Owens chose a color palette of black, blood red, grays, and camel/nudes for his designs that look both elegant and edgy. At times some of the details, like the ruffles on a dress or the red leather pants with the elastic band, remind me of the 80s when Thriller first dropped. The leather sock boot with the rubber tiered platform heel reminds me of something you would make, in a post apocalyptic world, out of rubber tires that overcrowd and occupy so many of our landfills today. Owens Fall 2019 collection is an elegant, edgy, horrifying look that merges outer space with an apocalyptic Earth. His collection is yet another example of bringing art to the runway.
I’m dying to wear these dresses and shoes:
More from Rick Owens Fall 2019:
I’ll end with a bit from an interview between Rick Owens and GQ magazine from 2015:
DETAILS: Your past few shows have featured notable spectacles on the runway— people wearing people, exposed penises—how do you come up with these special performances/experiences? Are you ever scared they’ll upstage the actual clothing?
Rick Owens: Shows can be about more than clothes, they can be about an ethos or a statement of intent. I feel like I want to offer a more fully-resolved, committed vision that goes beyond the clothes. A show is about presenting a point of view. It’s the opportunity to make a composition that presents an ideal of beauty not just in models in makeup and hair and in dresses, but maybe also beauty in morals, beauty in behavioral aspiration, beauty in warmth and inclusiveness. I’m not saying that I’ve got a lot of New Age answers, but I like using the runway to express as much positive energy as I can get out there while I’m on Earth.