FREE WILLY: It earned its own Twitter hashtag on Thursday, and it rhymes with Rick. And when it made its appearance on Rick Owens’ fall men’s runway in Paris — peeping through portholes in cutaway outerwear — the front row erupted in giggles, smirks and precision smartphone zooming.
Hours later, retailers and editors were more bemused than outraged at the sightings of the models’ dangly bits.
“I thought it was brave, particularly in a winter season,” offered Andrew Keith, president of Lane Crawford and Joyce.
Ken Downing, senior vice president and fashion director at Neiman Marcus, was equally nonplussed. “I’m much like a doctor. When you work in fashion, you see everything. It was just unexpected,” he said.
On social media, all manner of penis parlance was employed: “Rick Owens went balls-out,” GQ magazine trumpeted. “It looks like the groin is in,” New York Observer opined. “Hot new trend in men’s fashion: visible penis,” Cosmopolitan cheered, while adding a pun-laced warning: “The following media may contain sensitive material.”
Gert Jonkers, co-creator of Fantastic Man and the now-defunct gay magazine Butt, was all “shucks” when told of the spectacle, which he missed due to the late arrival of his train in the French capital. Shown a snap on an iPhone, he replied: “I think it’s very nice. I wish I’d seen it.”
Butt, which ceased publication in 2008, famously depicted fashion folk in their birthday suits, including Bernhard Willhelm, and Jonkers continues to applaud show-off behavior: “I think shame is so boring, so it’s good if people flaunt it.”