Fashion Design

Darkish Knight Nonetheless Rising: Rick Owens, trend’s lord of darkness


ick Owens spends his summers in Venice, from Might to October. He’s there now, ready for his breakfast supply: espresso, croissants, eggs and avocado on toast. ‘One of the vital civilised issues you are able to do is have a daybed and a sizzling espresso on the seashore within the morning. I’ve received my toes within the sand and it’s a glowing day,’ he says.

This isn’t a scene that you’d count on a clothier who has been described as ‘the lord of darkness’ to look in. However Owens has at all times straddled the road between the grotesque and the attractive.

‘I do know that everyone type of assumes that I’m very dramatic and dystopian,’ he says. ‘And I assume that after I do exhibits, that is the case. However I dwell a really quiet, light life.’ Owens says he prefers to journey as little as potential. When he does, he by no means takes personal planes. So the airport has turn out to be considerably of an issue — notably the pre-flight saunter by means of responsibility free purchasing. ‘I discover it so jarring and ugly,’ he says. ‘I began referring to this as an “airport aesthetic” since you’re compelled to undergo these responsibility free shops. It’s this super-glossy, super-classic, super-rigid, slender type of setting, selling jet-set aspirations and conspicuous consumption.’

His upcoming SS23 womenswear present in Paris might be a response to this, he explains. ‘I need one thing uncooked, one thing gritty. I’ve been getting somewhat too glam just lately, which individuals have actually responded to nicely. I’ve at all times believed in glamour. However the world has gotten somewhat bit too shiny for me just lately. We’re residing in an airbrushed selfie world.’

Though Owens makes use of social media himself, it’s clear that mainstream influencer tradition doesn’t attraction. Though, after I press him on the matter, he says it’s ‘amusing and ironic’. ‘The “on-line” fashion seems to me as a type of a seize bag of pulling each label collectively after which calling it your individual look,’ he says. ‘Nevertheless it all seems the identical to me — the entire mixtures of designer garments find yourself levelling out.’ From a person who as soon as famously stated, ‘Understanding is fashionable couture. Purchase much less clothes and go to the fitness center as an alternative,’ Owens’ ethos couldn’t be additional away from #OOTD Instagram snaps and YouTube unboxing movies.

Golden globes: Rick Owens’ SS23 males’s present on the Palais de Tokyo in Paris | Getty

/ Getty Photographs

Unsurprisingly, Owens’ muses have at all times been what society would deem unconventional in look, rooted within the aesthetics of subculture. A local of California, he spent his adolescence within the LA punk scene. After learning artwork adopted by sample reducing and draping at Los Angeles Commerce-Technical School, he based his personal label in 1994 earlier than heading to Paris nearly 10 years later together with his accomplice in life and work, Michèle Lamy, to whom he has been married since 2006. Their firm, Owenscorp, is the umbrella below which stands the uncompromising world they create.

Owens has dressed the likes of Kanye West, designed brutalist furnishings, launched six books, staged each exhibitions and a museum retrospective of his work. The Rick Owens mainline collections (there are 4 a yr, two girls’s and two males’s) are among the most revered every season. Not just for the beautiful clothes but additionally for the ‘bombastic’ — because the designer places it — exhibits that accompany them. Earlier runways have included fashions sporting one another as backpacks, step groups performing full dance routines in lieu of a stroll, bare penises peeking out of hemlines and, most just lately within the case of the SS23 males’s present, an apocalyptic set with burning globes dropped from cranes into the fountain pool of the Palais de Tokyo.

His poker-straight hair (naturally curly and white) is religiously dyed jet black — ‘my objective from childhood was apparently to have hair like Cher,’ he as soon as stated. However what does Owens make of subcultures within the age of TikTok, and notably these rising from London? ‘I like the youngsters who do Kaos London. It’s an underground techno membership and collective. Anyway Chadd, who goes by the title of Dahc Dermur — nicely, I simply name him Chadd however I assume Chadd is just too pedestrian for him — he used to work for me 20 years in the past in my New York retailer. Then he moved to the UK and he has type of created a group round him with Kaos. It’s one of many few subcultures that I’ve seen in latest instances. However possibly I’m not trying round sufficient.’ Owens additionally references Welsh Gen Z drag artist Salvia and an artist duo named Fecal Matter as two different inspirations (I’ll go away you to google them in your individual time). ‘After I see these children going additional and beginning to distort their our bodies and dealing with prosthetics and cosmetic surgery, that’s type of attention-grabbing to me. It’s type of the brand new model of tattooing. I imply tattooing was once transgressive and now it’s simply essentially the most suburban, dreary factor.’

I ask Owens about ES’s cowl star, Julia Fox, whom he met whereas she was courting Kanye West. ‘It was solely after I met her that I found her pictures work,’ he says. ‘It’s actually spectacular. A photographer I’ve labored with for a few years, Danielle Levitt, confirmed me. I did marvel if there was backlash after the Kanye factor,’ he says, thoughtfully. ‘For all of the progress that we’ve got made, the way in which girls are handled and the way in which that they’re thrown away, like with the entire Amber Heard factor… He was seen as such a hero and she or he was such a villain. It was surprising. The world will be such a vicious, primitive place.’

‘I feel London is simply so lovely, although,’ continues Owens, altering the topic to explain his love of The Beaumont resort, his most well-liked lodging within the metropolis (he likes to remain within the Antony Gormley suite). ‘It overlooks this bizarre little backyard throughout from Selfridges,’ he says, referring to Brown Hart Gardens. Belief him to note this inconspicuous concrete spot. Actually, first in-built 1889, Brown Hart Gardens was deemed an ‘immediate catastrophe’ for attracting ‘disorderly boys’ and ‘verminous girls’. In a vicious world, largely ‘airbrushed’, like Facetune over an unflattering selfie, taking a leaf out of the guide of Rick Owens, Michèle Lamy and their disorderly boys and verminous girls wouldn’t be such a foul concept.

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