Rick Owens seeks, often successfully, to provoke with his runway. After his most recent men’s fashion show/peep show, during which several of the models’ genitals were exposed, Owens chose to dial down the shock value for his fall women’s lineup to a mere “surprise”: He used sequins for the first time.
“I thought, ‘What the hell? Maybe now’s the time,’” said Owens backstage. “Especially after the men’s show, it was nice to do something sentimental and a little naïve.”
Owens displays his softer side from time to time, though it’s often overshadowed by the dark stuff, and it’s worth seeing. Here, the graceful expansion of his decorative scope was unexpected, as he intended, and also quite personal. He did not throw glitter around without purpose. Owens said his work is always autobiographical, but this collection delved into his Mexican heritage on his mother’s side. A key reference was the Mayan Revival style of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House in Los Angeles, prompting the measured use of gold and silver sequins carefully placed in geometric and linear configurations on generously draped wool felt shapes done in mineral colors, both rich and drab. The combination was beautiful, strong and raw.
Some of the tops looked like blankets draped around the front of the body and closed into folds in the back, while skirts were crudely cut short in the back and long in the front. Owens stressed the collection’s ease, despite its ample shapes, and the generous proportions did seem comfortable. There were even fairly ordinary puffer jackets amid the nomadic armour, which was shown plain and with the graphic, modern-tribal embellishments enhanced by gold-leaf masks some models had painted on their faces, just like Mayan deities did.