Rick Owens A/W 2019 Paris Fashion Week Men’s
Mood board: A day before the show, Rick Owens Instagrammed a label that read ‘L. LeGaspi, inc.’. It was stitched inside a piece of clothing found in the archives of costume designer Larry Legaspi, the architect behind Kiss and girl-group Labelle’s iconic 70s looks. ‘He introduced a camp ferocity to the mainstream and helped set a lot of kids like me free, with his mix of art deco sexual ambiguity and raw, black leather bombast,’ Owens said. The lightning bolt graphic, snaking up the thighs of Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley’s original jumpsuit, was translated into quilting on nylon vests and used as linings for dramatic collared wool coats with lacquered canvas box pockets. A puffa bolero was curved around the arm, evoking a treble cleff. Trousers in cotton doeskin had suede knee patches - their volumes had a swooping couture consciousness. The mood was seductive and sexy. All in Owens’s esoteric style.
Team work: There is always a twisted kind of Americana to Owens’s clothes - recognisable basics are elongated or teased. Ribbed tanks are bleached, necks on T-shirts are worn out. Flannel tailoring had raw shearling and quilted nylon inserts. The models wore huge platform sandals and boots. Owens said: ‘Maybe in an era of squeamish conservatism and easy outrage we could use a bit of flamboyance.’ Shoulders were peaked, the silhouette elongated and pulled high up. The collection had all of the gall and glamour we deserve. A collaboration with French sneaker brand Veja resulted in their first performance runner, which happens to be Owens’s first 100% vegan shoe.
Scene setting: The show was lit by a single stream of white light; most of the guests sat in relative darkness. A 1940s searchlight, manufactured by General Electric in the US and then shipped to France to be used by the allies on the beaches of Normandy, was placed at the foot of the catwalk. The quintessential American in Paris. It lent a moody glimmer to the clothes, which were held together by the glitz of 1970s glam-rock. A remix of Swedish rock group Leather Nun’s cover of ABBA’s pop classic Gimme Gimme Gimme played loud. §