Seeing three XXL tulle dresses cascading down the Palais De Tokyo’s courtyard staircase during a Rick Owens show felt surreal. The king of dark fashion gone princess-y? But then, this was a quite natural step for a designer who like no else revisited the Old Hollywood glamour in his recent offerings. And to be truly honest, these tulle dresses had nothing to do with the ones we see on Giambattista Valli or Molly Goddard’s runways. Owens leaves no room for sweetness. “When you’re proposing more options aesthetically people open their minds in other ways too,” he said. “They become more empathetic.” Who can look askance at a proposal like that? In general, the designer’s use of materials this season was remarkable. The translucent rubbery latex look of the opening pieces? Cowhides collected from the food industry that are treated with natural glycerin to give them their suppleness and sheer quality, “like wearing gelatinous fruit roll-ups,” the show notes elucidated. The spliced stripes of the voluminous numbers at the end were actually lacquered denim. From a distance, they might have been eel. Equally as singular is what Owens did with those materials: draping sinuous dresses with vestigial sleeves like furled wings and long trailing hems, exaggerating the arches of the shoulders of jackets up to and past the chin, creating odd, yet compelling volumes. The show’s many zip-front bombers were paneled like scarab carapaces. The ancient Egyptians considered the scarab a sign of renewal and rebirth, which is relevant. Egypt is a country Owens loves lately. He named this show “Edfu“, after a temple on the west bank of the Nile. The bell-shaped frilled jackets that he repeated in solid brights and vaguely art deco-ish diamond patterns were another novel development.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
Don’t forget to follow Design & Culture by Ed on Instagram!