Rick Owens’ shows are always larger than life with those giant platform boots and exaggerated proportions striding down the runway, and with the imposing Art Deco Palais de Tokyo as the backdrop.
This time Owens went even larger. He hosted an Aztec purification ceremony backstage before the show and invited musicians from Mexico to accompany the show’s Lavascar soundtrack with Danza Azteca ceremonial music, which has been passed down through generations.
For spring, Owens was thinking about his Mexican mother and grandmother, and about President Trump’s fixation with building a wall south of the U.S. border. He even planted the Aztec eagle from the United Farm Workers association flag on T-shirts and other garments, and plans to use the proceeds to benefit their cause.
The touches in this powerful show were more personal than political, though: Owens showered a long, wide-shoulder jacket with yellow sequins and adorned a hooded cape with a graphic geometric pattern, with both designs inspired by the folkloric china poblana skirts that his mother had worn for school pageants as a child.
“To be able to mix modernism and Mexico is the direction I wanted to go toward. I remember my mom and all the sequined outfits, and we translated some of those designs into geometric motifs,” said the designer, adding that he was never going to go the sombrero route for this collection.
There was so much more to the collection than Mexico, including long coats with pointy shoulders, iridescent pink wide-leg trousers and jackets with a Glam Rock feel, and a pair of rough-edged black and blue jeans with bleached-out patches looking as if they’d been stitched together by Dr. Frankenstein.
Owens also worked closely with the British sculptor Thomas Houseago, whose first retrospective in France is currently taking place at the Museum of Modern Art, and whose clay sculpture is sitting in the Palais de Tokyo fountain, where the show took place. Owens’ textured white invitation was based on one of Houseago’s wall sculptures.
Their collaboration went further, with Owens bringing Houseago’s abstract, humanoid sculptures to life on the runway via skinny trousers wrapped in chunky black or white laces or shiny white snakeskin suits. Their surfaces were meant to mimic the texture of the artist’s work which — like Owens’ — is often out of this world.