Rick Owens: Fashion’s ultimate antagonist

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Rick Owens: Fashion’s ultimate antagonist

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Paris-based designer Rick Owens has been referred to as many issues in his lengthy profession. An antihero, a goth, trend’s “prince of darkness.” He’s been labeled as such due to his proclivity for a largely noir, grey and ice-hued oeuvre, his deployment of pentagram motifs on underwear or elk antlers on furnishings, and an total aesthetic that’s – and he’d agree with this – rapturously anti-establishment.

“I get it, I imply, it’s simple to categorize anyone. I summarize issues rapidly, too. I suppose being referred to as goth isn’t the worst factor,” he says throughout a sit down interview atop the Palais de Tokyo, two days earlier than the revealing of his Spring-Summer time 2022 assortment at Paris Trend Week. “It’s like this: There’s Disney World, the place you’ll be able to go to seek out one thing very clear and that denies the discomforts and horrors that basically exist in life. And there’s the non-Disney World, the place you’ll discover anyone like me, who acknowledges and tries to determine learn how to settle for these issues and learn how to handle these issues. Once you acknowledge it, whenever you take care of mortality, whenever you take care of risk, then, yeah, it’s darkish in comparison with Disney. I’m advantageous with it.”

Michèle Lamy and Rick Owens attend the Gareth Pugh show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear in 2014.

Owens, who’s half American and half Mexican (his mom is from Puebla, just some hours exterior of Mexico Metropolis), was born and raised in Porterville, California, earlier than launching his namesake line in Los Angeles in 1994. He relocated to Paris in 2003 together with his accomplice Michèle Lamy, and now lives between the French capital and Venice, Italy’s Lido, the place he retains a penthouse flat that overlooks the ocean (and the place, through the Covid-19 pandemic, he staged and filmed intimate runway reveals; Thursday’s Paris catwalk marked his return to town after a yr and a half).

His label, which stays majority owned by him and Lamy, is a hit story – to the tune of a whole lot of thousands and thousands of {dollars} in income per yr, because of his principal assortment, his diffusion strains, a furnishings assortment, model partnerships and extra. He has acquired quite a few accolades, together with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Council of Trend Designers of America, and is an trade darling regardless of remaining, to many, a little bit of a darkish horse. He’s additionally develop into increasingly more of a celeb favourite, beloved by stars equivalent to Lil Uzi Vert, Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, and Timothée Chalamet, who layered Rick Owens into his current Met Gala look.

Above all, Owens, who turns 60 in November, could also be among the many most unfiltered designers working in the present day – it’s a trait that’s uncommon, particularly when many luxurious manufacturers fall below closely patrolled company approval processes and security stops. His honesty is refreshing: “I like bombast, but there’s been anger all alongside. I grew up in such a conservative, judgy city, and it crammed me with a lot rage,” says Owens. “I’m nonetheless working on that rage. That is my revenge. I’m nonetheless vengeful. I’m nonetheless a vengeful Scorpio.”

During Paris Fashion Week in 2019, Owens' show at the Palais de Tokyo blended harmoniously with a fortuitous on-site exhibition by sculptor Thomas Houseago.

Owens’ product is extremely luxurious, however it doesn’t keep on with the confines of stereotypical and mass-peddled opulence. Blistered leathers, unique skins, tape-thin cashmere knits, overwashed denim, and a little bit of roughened glamour, equivalent to with injections of sequins or foils, have all performed a task in defining his singular design vernacular. His shapes and silhouettes are outsized, clingy, languid, and, frankly, charming. All of it congeals to kind one thing futuristic and deeply primal in tandem. Neanderthal to alien, and but surprisingly well-suited for the fashionable period.

“What I all the time attempt to do is convey auteurship to my work,” he says. “The actual fact is, all of my life, I’ve tried to current one thing that’s a substitute for a really strict aesthetic that we see on this world. We’re anticipated to stick to it, however I attempt to blur the strains. And never in a militant means, however in a means that’s saying, ‘I suggest this as a substitute for the requirements you might be used to.’ I believe with confidence and a certain quantity of aptitude and boldness, we now have established our personal sort of magnificence. A better magnificence.”

Owens’ balanced method – that trend can thrive as a tug-o-war between gloom and pleasure – can be mirrored in his monitor report of each controversy and really sensible strokes.

Step teams from US sororities were hired by Owens in 2013 to model his Spring-Summer 2014 collection.

Concerning the previous, in June, 2015, a mannequin strolling in an Owens’ present held up an indication that learn “Please Kill Angela Merkel Not.” There was some hypothesis as as to whether it was an inside job, a violent stunt to drum up publicity (Owens denies any prior information of it).

With the latter, there are two standouts specifically. One dates to September, 2013, when Owens employed step groups from American sororities as an alternative of conventional fashions to current his Spring-Summer time 2014 assortment. The present was a sensation, and, it’s value noting, it occurred years earlier than the style trade’s system-wide push for better racial range and dimension inclusivity.

The new Spring-Summer 2022 Rick Owens collection debuted September 30 at Paris Fashion Week 2021.

The opposite entails one other runway present, this time in 2019. Owens has a historical past of presenting on the Palais de Tokyo, and the big dimension of the situation recurrently calls for inventive space-filling.

That summer season, there was an on-site exhibition of labor by the artist and sculptor Thomas Houseago. One such piece was put in smack in the midst of Owens’ set. The designer extrapolated off of the thought, and imported clay from Houseago’s Los Angeles studio, mixing it with Parisian mud, and together with it as a part of the staging. Most significantly, it didn’t go to waste: “It’s clay that got here from Los Angeles that was in a Rick Owens present that ended up on the Louvre, being utilized by college students in their very own creativity,” says Owens. “And I simply liked that. I assumed that was a fantastic answer to [the excesses of runway shows.]”

A line of models walk the runway during the Rick Owens fashion show at Paris Fashion Week 2021.

Spring-Summer time 2022, titled ‘Fogachine’, featured an array of Owens signatures; standout seems to be included a dip-dyed elongated sheer prime over a barely-there physique go well with and splint-like python boots, in addition to a billowing, nearly caftan-like, tulle gown embroidered with iridescent raven feathers. Total, the gathering reverberated with confidence and a kind of elegant-yet-menacing power; it was a charged-up homecoming, of kinds, however Owens doesn’t assign too many particular feelings to his work.

Plus, as all the time, he wrestles with the larger questions: “[With shows coming back after the pandemic], everyone goes to wish to flex. Everybody goes to wish to present that they’re stronger than ever, that they’re extra highly effective than ever. It’s a bit horrifying, however I get it. In order that’s the place my head is true now. I’m considering, no one needs to see humility. No one needs to see a humble lesson. Folks wish to see that we’re again to full energy.” Then, smiling mischievously, he concludes: “Folks wish to think about that the whole lot’s going to be advantageous, and that we’ve received all of it below management.”

High picture: Rick Owens at his Menswear Fall/Winter 2020-2021 present at Paris Trend Week in 2020.

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