Staged under today's hot Paris sun, Rick Owens’ SS18 menswear show was a response to what the designer termed “our chaotic human condition”. Named ‘Dirt’, to serve as a counterpoint to last season’s ‘Glitter’ collection, the focus on utility and tailoring created a sense of sartorial order on the runway.
Foregoing the familiarity of the stark concrete basement of his favorite building in the French city, the Palais de Tokyo, Owens chose to hold the presentation outside in the Palais’ courtyard, a venue made just as impactful by way of an imposing constructivist scaffolding structure. Erected above the courtyard’s pool, models paraded high above the showgoers before appearing to walk across the water. “Clothes are aspirational,” said Owens, “and putting them on the highest level, it makes them more heroic.”
Fashioned in luxe technical fabrics, many of them custom developed, these were high-functioning clothes in shades of black, white, grey and army green, accessorised with bags belted around the waist or slung across shoulders, and hiking-style boots featuring ‘tractor-turbo tread’. Trousers ran the gamut from the shortest of shorts to fluid, floor-grazing flares, with ultra-high waists being a common feature. And tailoring was showcased via a myriad of jackets, slim-fitting cover-ups cut high and tight contrasted with oversized double-breasted blazers, and there were also several 'deconstructed' sleeveless styles. “I’ve focused on the suit jacket as respectful uniform. As a symbol of civilisation. As elegant luggage. As personal aspirational architecture,” said Owens.
In true Owens’ style, the chosen soundtrack perfectly captured the mood of the collection, but also the designer's oft-undetected flair for nostalgia. ‘I Need a Freak’ by Egyptian Lover was one of Owens' favorite anthems from 1984 LA, the song title translated by the designer to mean “In these times of petty discord and anxiety I’m looking for transgressive inspiration and imagination.”