How’s this for a sales pitch: Wear this sinuous gown in translucent leather and turn yourself into a 700-million-year-old jellyfish.
These words, surely written deadpan and plucked from Rick Owens’ spring show notes, go to the heart of his design ethos of timelessness, exoticism and “otherness,” his purpose in fashion to stretch the boundaries of what is considered beautiful.
“I’m saying there are different aesthetic options,” he explained backstage amid eco-tulle skirts so vast they stood on their own. “It’s a protest against conventional judgment. And this is what I have dedicated my life to.”
And what a ravishing fashion protest it was.
His spooky stalactite shoulders were back in a big way, on everything from snug bomber jackets to Barbie pink cocktail dresses. So were his crumpled volumes, here in gleaming metallic fabrics, looking like car parts crushed elegantly around the body. These continue to challenge the eye, and Owens isn’t relenting.
Newer and completely seductive were his languid and revealing gowns with long trains; his giant tulle skirts, and his swishy chiffon trapeze tops, constructed with endless godets.
“I wanted confection, I wanted froth,” he said, explaining how each of these tops, some printed with blurred plaids in gorgeous green/yellow or pink/red combinations, took three hours to trim the hems alone.
This open air show at his treasured 1930s location — the parvis of the Palais de Tokyo — cast a spell as models stalked a square pool in their Frankenstein thigh boots amid belches of disco fog and a single fountain shooting water high enough to rival the pools ringing the Burj Khalifa.
Owens also cited Egypt as a reference, as he did last June at his men’s show, explaining that the land of the pyramids, and ancient species like jellyfish, offer him a form of reassurance in their stoic permanence. “Whatever discomforts we’re going through now, people have endured worse. And those pyramids have survived.”
In other news, Owens revealed that he is launching an official TikTok channel and bringing his narrative of otherness. He’ll kick off with a series of videos depicting him shaving off people’s eyebrows with the same Braun razor he uses on his face.
“It’s a rejection of conventional prettiness. So that is another form of protest,” he said. “I want to offer another option other than the narrow parameters that we’re stuck with.”