Rick Owens didn’t let me into his show on Thursday at the Beaux-Arts de Paris, but as I walked away two men on motorcycles pulled up to the curb and asked where the afterparty was. There is none, I told them in French, everyone’s broke because of the crisis.
Whether this is true or not is besides the point; if you had seen these two men, you would have understood the necessity of dissuading them. But then, Rick Owens probably does not feel the need to schmooze and debauch in order to get attention. Haughty press relations staff aside, he is one of the least pretentious designers in town. One bit of Owens lore concerns the statue of himself urinating that he had made by Madame Tussaud’s in London.
Ask a fashion person to describe Rick Owens and they might come up with words like ‘Goth’ and ‘broken idealism,’ as Owens himself summarizes his aesthetic. In fact, thinking about his clothes, one should never forget that Owens comes from California – and California, if it represents anything in fashion, stands for comfort dressing.
This show featured all the Owens standards: asymmetrical coats and jackets, funnel collars, layers of short dresses and tunics underneath the coats, slouchy pants and layers of leggings. The models wore frizzy headpieces (one hesitates to call them hats), a decidedly feminine touch to looks which might otherwise have seemed androgynous.
Owens has no need to reinvent the wheel each season because what he does works so well. Goth trappings aside, the clothes looked cozy, possibly addictive. Even more comfortable were the layers – you might even call them comforting. Who doesn’t want to put on an extra sweater in times like these?
Of course, it goes without saying that as the standard-bearer of Goth in Paris, Owens has a thing for black. The first looks were black from head to toe. But as the show progressed, the palette lightened, going from black to grey to an icy blue-white.