“Stoic Bauhaus Aztec Priestesses in Art Deco Valhalla,” was how Rick Owens described this season’s collection, which took place on a bubble-filled runway in the backyard of Palais de Tokyo (“like something out of Disney’s ‘Fantasia’”). Owens’ latest womenswear offering is fire. It’s so, so mind-blowing! But those outer-space goddesses haven’t come up from nowhere. With this collection, the designer honored his 87-year-old Mexican immigrant mother (the collection’s title, Tecuatl, is a nod to Rick’s grandmother’s Mixtec maiden name). Owens was raised in the United States, lives in France, and manufactures his clothes in Italy. “That all wouldn’t work without open borders,” he summed up, alluding to the fight in the USA over a border wall with its southern neighbor. Back to the collection and its models: they looked like ethereal majesties in their towering platform boots and Aztec-slash-Metropolis-inspired headgear. The Metropolis reference is no coincidence. In between the lines you could read in Owens’s fantastic vision a criticism of Donald Trump, who’s called Mexicans “animals” and “criminals,” and worse. Fritz Lang’s antiauthoritarian masterpiece depicts a grim underworld peopled by mistreated workers, i.e. the migrant farmers and other undocumented immigrants who do the hard labor that keeps America’s upper classes fed. But back to Rick’s stunning, beautifully disturbing fashion: exaggerated shoulders of jackets, architectural tabard skirts, odd protrusions jutting from pelvises… this all desires a loud “WOW“.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.