BY PHILIPPE POURHASHEMI
Rick Owens’ Bold Modernism
Fusing modernist lines with glam rock accents, Rick Owens showed a bold and forward-thinking collection
Watching Rick Owens’ last womenswear show really made you wonder how he got to be referred to as a ‘dark designer’ by press and buyers, given how colorful, energetic and upbeat some of his garments were. The American designer has been inspired by the aesthetics of glam rock lately, adding drama and flamboyance to his overall silhouette. Of course, anything Rick Owens takes on becomes part of his unique language and his last collection was a strong illustration of the power of his vision.
Perched on towering, and often thigh-high, platform boots, his models were ready to take on the world with their fierce attitude and dramatic clothes, striding confidently and shoulders upwards. Whether pointy, square, collapsed or rounded, Rick’s shoulder was a strong statement throughout the collection and even the most extreme versions were instantly desirable. They reminded you of Joan Crawford’s power suits and 1940’s Hollywood, glamorous and protective at once. Adding urban energy to his jackets and coats, the designer focused on clingy asymmetrical dresses with highly revealing slits. They added body-consciousness and sensuality to oversize volumes and exaggerated shapes. The overall effect was both elegant and savage, raw and sophisticated, turning Rick’s women into bold glamazons.
The designer’s experiments with color and materials were also on the adventurous side, choosing clear plastic for sinuous dresses and roomy outerwear, while padded nylon was used for gigantic capes. Bright shades of blue, yellow, orange and red appeared on the runway, as well as shocking pink. However intense and surprising the color palette was, the real drama was in the construction of the pieces, which were incredibly intricate. Stripy separates in extreme shapes recalled David Bowie’s incredible relationship with Japanese designer Kansai Yamamoto, while voluminous coats were cozy and big enough to actually sleep in. Perhaps that was the idea: clothing as shelter and protective shell, the perfect formula to face challenging times ahead.