“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.
Although it’s been a while ago, Andreas Murkudis hosted a temporary pop-up store feauturing Rick Owens and Michele Lamy‘s furniture line. I wanted to see those designs for such a long time, and it was worth the wait. There’s something truly incredible in their raw beauty. When Lamy and Owens first started out making furniture, it was purpose-built; their marital bed was the first thing that they created, long before they thought that their work might evolve into the sort of thing to be exhibited at global art galleries, because “we don’t buy; we do,” as Michele told Another Magazine back in 2017. “We have always been this way, always building spaces; small or big. Rick with his studio, me with Les Deux Cafés…” Formed from basalt and petrified wood, crystal and oxbone and alabaster, such objects might easily appear sterile, but they are instead imbued with resounding warmth. “Part of the romance invested in the furniture is the look on the faces of the guys who work on it when she sweeps into their studios in the jewellery, furs and smoke – her love for them and their love for her is a big part of every piece,” writes Owens in their book dedicated to their furniture. Most beautiful things are made with love.
Photos by Edward Kanarecki and Owenscorp.
Designers seem to reconsider glamour this season in subverted, new ways. While this term seems to be far, far from Rick Owens‘ well-known aesthetic, the designer took a try with it and what came out is the brilliant autumn-winter 2019 collection. Who else can pull off a reference crossover of such names as Charles James (the only American couturier), Larry LeGaspi (the person who designed costumes for Labelle, Kiss, Grace Jones, and Divine) and Mariano Fortuny (the Spanish-born, Italy-based designer who was famous for pleats and prints)? Only Rick. All of those people did glamour in their own, idiosyncratic way, and Owens was interested in doing garments that have a bit of each of them in the seems, cuts and drapes. Wait, but it’s never a Rick Owens collection without a bit of darkness. The designer hired 18-year-old Salvia (see her Instagram! It’s disturbing, but you won’t stop scrolling) to consult on the show makeup. The models looked like alien princesses with all the face implants and prothesis. That’s post-apocalyptic chic.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.