“It’s a very angry collection,” Rick Owens said backstage before his show, explaining some recent frustrations. He had run up against technical limitations related to his exhibition in Milan, and to some special effects planned for his fall 2018 men’s show, leaving him two options: either push hard to get things done right or tame one’s ideas in the land of red tape. It’s a conundrum that extends to the wider socio-ecological-political climate, he argued.
“We need to be more constrained now, more conservative, more cautious. We are going to an era where you can make mistakes more easily. And everybody’s going to call you on it, and gleefully,” said the designer, who has always been a gleeful disruptor. “I’m really getting hung up on resistance.”
He unleashed his wrath working within his own framework, mixing grand sartorial gestures with a military-athletic vibe.
A lot of the clothes looked as if they had been mutilated, with aggressive cutouts on elongated tunics that allowed for peek-a-boo moments on the body, and asymmetric skirts that looked like they’d been crafted from slashed up shorts.
Conversely, a run of capes had their armholes sewn shut, the arms liberated only through slits at the front. They added some chic drama as models marched briskly through a blinding white set to scorching techno.
The collection had a great sculptural quality to it, applied to everything he touched including the boots and sneakers with platform molded soles, which added to the brutality of the ensemble. (There were also old-school, generic sneakers.)
He reworked shapes from seasons past like the boxy jumpsuit and ultra high-waisted pants, here in military versions.
Embellishments included industrial snaps in triangular formations wrapping military coats. Once came in a black “scrub brush” plastic shearling with fuzzy outlines of floating filaments; others had chain embroidery underlining and dangling from the collar.
There was a sense of protection on one side, exposure on the other — that inimitable Owens’ blend of raw and refined.