Rick Owens: Louche luxe from Luxor
It’s hard to think of a more influential designer or a more imitated brand, at the very least in menswear, than Rick Owens who staged a great show with a powerful collection in the Palais de Tokyo in Paris on Thursday.
The first true fashion moment of the current six-day Paris menswear season, this fall winter collection 2023/24 had everything one wants to witness on a Rick runway.
Drama; defiant proportions; super-hero casting; startling silhouettes; even more drama and multiple evocations of the designer’s new winter home, ancient Luxor, in historic Egypt.
It opened with Owens’ muse Tyrone Dylan prowling out in Perspex-heeled black leather thigh boots, tight shorts, vampire cape, and a square meter of his pneumatic drill like torso. Does this man live in a gym?
Dozens of models marched in Rick’s cuissards, as the French term thigh high boots, often paired with sleeveless padded waistcoats, one meter wide at the top. Many accessorized with dominatrix, oversized leather gloves with multiple angled zips.
What the designer termed in his program notes as “reduced architectural shapes with a whiff of sleazy seventies pseudo-mysticism.”
Rick stayed true to his DNA with multiple goth pagoda shoulder jerkins and coats, and a series of boldly oversized flight jackets. The latter made from GRS certified recycled polyamide, dyed by using eco-pigments on synthetic fibres. Other looks in a khaki olive color, were made by using olive waste.
Though a card-carrying member of the avant-garde, Owens has commercial savvy – showing a couple of vented black serge wool blazers that managed to be both classical and somehow carry the Rick imprimatur.
And his raw materials can often be surprisingly traditional too - like mohair twill sourced from vintage 1950s looms owned by the legendary Italian 4th generation textile maker, Bonotto in the Veneto.
With heavy rock tracks from The Cult booming out of the speakers, the cast marched on an elevated steel runway. Their faces finished with one-inch-wide black stripes, attired in swirling capes; spike-shoulder blousons; and a brilliant series of two-foot thick leather puffer blankets tied up like a modernist sculpture. Funky latter-day pharaohs.
“The vastness and scale (of Luxor's) line up with the Cecil B. Demille fantasy of Egypt in the movie The Ten Commandments, which I watch nightly while working out with Brutalismus 3000 pumping through my earphones. Merging real life with fantasy life is one of my favourite things. And measuring the insignificance of contemporary discomforts against that amount of history comforts me,” added American’s most important fashion export to the Paris fashion season.
But before darkly concluding: “There is a bitterness to creating a collection during a war – a desire to contribute our sombre best in an industry that must remain stalwart, with a sense of frustration that nothing is enough.”
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