Rick Owens A/W 2018
Scene setting: Owens held his show in a different part of the Palais du Tokyo from the usual concrete foxhole. The great curved space was flooded with severe bright white light; guests squinted and blinked as they sat on metal benches. The models paced to a remix of ‘Energize’ by DJ Speedlap – a 90s terror techno track which heightened the prophesying mood.
Mood board: Owens is a deep thinker. His clothes are poetic omens. For A/W 2016 he showed a collection of cocooning primordial lavishness inspired by the Mastodon; the forest-dwelling elephant-like animal that became extinct more than 10,000 years ago, likely due to interventions by man. Owens always has an urgency. A/W 2018 was created with the cyclical nature of life at the forefront of his mind. The collection was named after Sisyphus, the crafty king of Greek mythology who was punished for his deceitful ways, forced to push a boulder up a hill — only for it to roll away again and again and again.
Sound bite: the designer is in a reflective mood. ‘It’s draining to watch unhealthy cycles repeat themselves, behaviourally and historically, and every once in a while, it’s hard to suppress a howl of rage,’ his notes for the show read. ‘If we haven’t learned better by now, after all this time, does this mean unhealthy cycles and base urges are an integral part of the human condition? And if they are integral, does that mean they have some kind of horrible value?’ Cargo chaps in camel hair flannel; raw-denim jeans lopped into jagged skirts; thick cashmere and cotton tunics slashed and left to hang around the body — don’t be fooled by the extremity of Owen’s clothes. They have a flawless majesty. Flags were sewn into the back of long coats. Floating as the models walked, their drape argued with the numbness of wool felt and nylon duchesse. The moment between rage and ecstasy.