Rick Owens catwalk show report S/S 2016 in Paris
You must have already either seen or heard what happened at the Rick Owens Cyclops show. Models wore the clothes yes, but models wearing each other? Was it a proclamation from Owens for women to literally support our fellow women, an astute metaphor for the burden carried by women in society, an illustration of maternity and carrying another life form, or perhaps even a comment on same sex equality within society?
Fittingly held in the depths of the contemporary art gallery the Palais de Tokyo, the audience were left to judge whether the catwalk was used by Owens as a vehicle to showcase a piece of performance art or more cynically as a publicity stunt in order to garner media attention for the label and its founder. Whatever your opinion, Owens both shocked and delighted the audience with his Paris Fashion week show for spring/summer 2016.
This leading light of grunge and trailblazer in draped leather mastery had an interesting start. After dropping out of fashion school, Owens worked as a pattern cutter producing illicit designer rip-off pieces. However, in 1994, he started his own label and rocketed to fame after Kate Moss wore his leather jacket in French Vogue. He has since showed at New York Fashion Week however his show is now an integral part of Paris Fashion Week.
The spectacle, or fashion as a performance, is very much a part of a Rick Owens show, and these gravity defying, human “backpacks” showed Owens’ exploration of the female construct which was mirrored in the collection itself. Stereotypically masculine, full-length black tailored waistcoats were worn over sports bras and pants, black overcoats with sheer silk dresses, seams and hems retained their raw edges and pregnancy-inspired draping hung loosely around waists echoing this idea of suspending, gravity pulling you down.
Owens’ great feminine avowal was shown within the strength of the straps both supporting the models and providing assistance to the gymnasts carrying them – possibly a metaphor for the strength females provide to each other. Pale gold silks were almost parachute-like in appearance, and the key to spring/summer 2016 shaping was seen in linear curvatures. Aside from his celebrated black, colours included shimmering pewter, rust and gold with oranges and dark corals on sportswear elements with zip detailing. Black leather flat boots and leather gladiator sandals added to the signature gothic style of the label, whilst draped leather added a new spherical shape to hems on the dresses.
Rick Owens never fails to disappoint both for the beauty and appeal of his clothing and in the intricacy and intelligence of his showcase. In a day and age when it is increasingly difficult to shock on a catwalk, Owens managed to achieve just that through this ornamentation and connecting of women which was at once fantastically unusual and jaw-droppingly inspiring.