While his aesthetic may be focused and consistent, Rick Owens doesn't like being typecast. For the last few seasons he's been the grand ringmaster of fashion. That peaked last season when he sent out a fierce step dance team featuring of women of varied sizes and ethnicities to show off his S/S 14 womenswear collection. It was without doubt the spectacle of the season. How would he top that, we wondered. Well Owens is not one to be told what to do or to jump through hoops to keep us happy. Backstage he informed editors, 'It had got theatrical to the point of being too much. I didn't want to do that any more.'
So for A/W 14, we weren't invited to the usual giant showspace, but instead a new venue, the Palais de Chaillot. We weren't greeted with an Estonian metal band hung from the ceiling or a gang of dancers, instead this was, whisper it, a conventional fashion show. No props. No fuss. No frivolity. Indeed, there was a severity and seriousness to this collection that was reflected both in the setting and the clothes. It was most evident in those flack jackets that resembled police and military uniformed. The sense of seriousness was extended to the headpieces, flowing do-rags that almost resembled religious habits.
But in the end, despite the promise that the theatrics had come to the end, it was the choreographed finale that made the biggest impression. The models - all in black, naturally - appeared in a set, lined up two by two, and marched like an ordered army through the space. While this was a cleaner, more straightforward piece of entertainment than we have been used to seeing at Rick Owens' shows, it was one that captured the might of his brand and the tribal commitment of those young people who wear his clothes perfectly. Sometimes the smartest statements are the simplest.