A Rick Owens fashion show is, if nothing else, entertaining and unpredictable. Morphing dramatically from one season to the next, one is never quite sure exactly what is going to be coming down the runway, or if he’s even going to use the runway. Owens made considerable waves during Paris Men’s Fashion Week a month ago when he had men walking with the crotch cut out of their garments. One had to wonder if we would see any similarly interesting cutouts today. I think there was, for more people, a sigh of relief when all the garments today were completely in tact.
That being said, however, there were considerable similarities between this women’s collection and the men’s. Both displayed Owens being incredibly minimalistic. Both took advantage of his draping skills, Both utilized very large pieces of cloth, especially leather, and then gathered and clipped in various places to hold them together. As a result, what we had was a very gender-neutral collection that could almost work no matter who was wearing it. Whether it can depends on how one feels about sequins.
The sequins were what surprised me. I’m accustomed to Owens’ block styling. I wasn’t bothered by the wrap-around collars that stood up almost like small sails across the back of the right shoulder. I wasn’t phased by the funky brown mohair wrap around. Gladiator sandals he’s used before. Origami folds are something which he has mastered. Sequins, though? Since when did Rick Owens go in for any level of glitz and glitter? Granted, the method was used sparingly and always tastefully; Owens didn’t go anywhere near the head-to-toe look of traditional eveningwear. Still, it was a different direction for a collection that normally eschews anything approaching traditional glamor.
Gold and silver leaf masks were this season’s more creepy/cool element. Everyone is going to come down on a different side of that opinion. They were included as a nod to Greek theatre in which the actors, all male, wore masks to represent their characters. Knowing that makes the masks rather cool. When paired with a Marilyn Manson soundtrack in the basement of a Paris parking garage, though, there’s a creepy factor to the look that’s impossible to deny. While suitable enough for a runway, and certainly a more palatable option than going crotchless, it still isn’t likely a look one might want to see coming up on them in the middle of the night, especially if one recalls the angels from the Dr. Who series (my apologies for the niche reference).
Overall, this was a much more safe collection than the menswear line but still carries all the ambiguity and androgyny that one expects from Rick Owens. And for those very special occasion, there are even sequins. What’s not to love?