Rick Owens: Chilly doomed glamour
If you didn’t to anything else this fashion week in Paris, let’s hope that at the very least you obtained an invitation to the latest show of Rick Owens, so sculptural and darkly sci-fi-sensational was his latest fashion accomplishment.
Other designers might stage catwalk shows; Owens unleashes works of great performance art. The Paris-based but Californian designer’s ability to take a banal object or item of apparel and make it into an ingenious statement is second to none in fashion.
Take his series of capes, ignited by his recent collaboration with Moncler, which began as matelassé fantasies that ballooned into six-meter square proportions, giant trains and floating sculptures that swept behind his super-heroine models. Or his doublet aristocratic winter riding gloves that were worn almost a daggers or swords hanging from the hip.
Finished with massive curly hair extensions and chosen for their aquiline profiles, the whole cast looked like a gang of super Amazonians Owens had discovered on Jupiter or Mars, and then flown down to earth on a chartered a space shuttle.
Backed up by Gary Numan and Tubeway Army on the soundtrack singing Down In The Park, they marched through dry ice in blue and black columns or futurist trench coats cut on one side up the hip – and made in combinations of knits; silicon, suede, leather and sea wolf – one of the scariest looking deep sea creatures. Though his punchiest ideas were pagoda-shoulder blousons or green zebra print leather rocker pants suits – in the same color as his invitation.
All of Owens’ cast perched on power platform heels, finished with metallic trim; most wearing astronaut shades on an outer-space party weekend - va-va-vroom Valkyries, every one of them.
In a eulogy to the British synthesizer sensation in his program note, Rick raved about Numan’s “doomed chilly glamour, and confessed that: “his performance as alienated witness to a dystopian world in the '80s was one of the foundations of my personal aesthetic.”
Pre-show, his wife and honey Michele Lamy marched around inside the Palais de Tokyo with an exact reproduction in silicon of Rick’s head attached to her belt.
“I’m Salome this afternoon,” chuckled Lamy, pointing to the cranium as if it were John the Baptist.
However, at the finale, when Owens took an extended walk around the maze-like catwalk, it was to immense applause. Worthy of a cult leader, which in the best possible way, is what he is. Most definitely consecrated, and not crucified.
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