Rick Owens‘ latest collection is powerful and beautiful in its strangeness. The bulbous shapes, the rough textures, the elevated silhouettes… “Conditions in the world being the way they are, it’s kind of a delicate time,” the designer said pre-show, alluding to the war in Ukraine. “And I was thinking I wanted to do something earnest, and more formal and more deliberate. I kept thinking of the word exquisite.” In pursuit of the exquisite he leaned into matte sequins, not in the gaudy red carpet colors you associate with embellishments like that, but in more muted tones of lime green, art deco pink, and bordeaux; and not, of course, in the fishtail silhouettes that seem to multiply during awards season, but in those donut duvets and inflated draped miniskirts. Those sequins aside, Owens was working with humble materials. The cutaway skirts that exposed the hip bone on one side and trailed down the runway in a long train on the other, and the dresses sliced to the armpit? Those were ribbed knits made from GRS certified recycled cashmere. And those decaying and fraying half-skirts and coats? That was indigo denim from Japan, which had been treated with a mineral wash and shredded by lasers. Extraordinary effects out of relatively simple materials. “That’s my job,” said Owens, “to present the most excellent aesthetics I can. I know I’m commonly referred to as dark. I think no, I’m just realistic and I’m acknowledging the beauty and horror of the world. There are some people that prefer something more sugar-coated, and that’s fine, I don’t criticize that. But I prefer something with more nuance.”
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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