Rick Owens’s faintly military spring collection, called “Cyclops,” introduced a new anti-Establishment uniform, drawing inspiration from the designer’s fetish artists Steven Parrino and John Chamberlain.
Backstage before the show, Owens explained that his starting point was the M65 field jacket, which he abstracted into his signature stretched silhouettes.
He predictably rendered them as sleeveless vests, but in an unusual flurry of different textures, including distressed leather; ombré; gabardine, which looked almost chaste when matched with long-sleeved silky shirts, and the type of metallic materials usually used for the label’s hardcore footwear.
Owens argued that military was the perfect tool for his label’s nonconformist signature. “Uniforms are almost patented to make men look better and to make men look as dignified and heroic as possible, but historically when we look back at that jacket, we recognize the protest and how it became an anti-Establishment uniform, so it’s kind of great that it covers both areas at the same time: heroism and valor of military, but also the opposition to it,” he said.
But the designer, inspired by the exuberantly folded surfaces of Parrino’s twisted paintings, sent out some art of his own via a series of elaborately draped tunics that, while tricky to wear, were nonetheless a standout. Twisted knits worn upside down followed the lead, boasting mint green and apricot for additional flavor, while a new find Owens described as “beautifully weird transparent leather” gave open shirts and basketball-style jerseys a novel, raw feel in this captivating show that wasn’t even disrupted when a model made a personal political protest.