Rick Owens is among a handful of fashion luminaries often referred to as a 'designer’s designer'. His collections evolve from season to season, rather than veer from one ‘of the moment’ style to another, marrying classical influences with raw, brutalist design and tribal elements.
But yesterday at his Palais de Tokyo presentation, the designer chose to call timelessness into question, or rather examine the issue of mass extinction, showing clothes that were conceived out of a very personal concern for the climate and man’s continued existence.
Adopting the moniker he also gave to his men’s collection, Mastodon, with its apocalyptic connotations, his womenswear show began in familiar Rick Owen’s territory – neutral colors and pod-like dresses, featuring the designer’s classic draping and accessorized, of course, with his cult fetish-style boots. A statement of the status-quo perhaps.
Then, somewhat surprisingly, these signatures were swiftly followed by a collection of looks in muted candy hues.
A pretty pistachio green (named Madeleine Castaing after the legendary French interior designer re-knowned for her love of color) infused the show with a lighter, brighter feel, and the designer’s often androgynous-style clothes appeared distinctly more feminine.
But the mood soon darkened when he returned to his preferred somber palette, perhaps somewhat earthier and with a distinct organic tone, and fabrics became heavier and more elaborate. Referencing the prehistoric premise of the show, models with matted hair swathed in pony skin and leather strode down the catwalk sporting oversize pants, and protected from the impending doom by huge duvet-like cover-ups.
This very personal and powerful collection did however end on a more positive note. The lightness returned, as models dressed in cool cream heralded the finale and perhaps an acceptance of the inevitability of change.