I’m not really sure where fashion would be right now had it not been for the arrival of the Japanese designers. Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto's outsider obsession with the Western uniform has allowed us to reappraise 'our' clothing as we know it. Today's show was about reappraising components of garments, shape - and fabric itself. Here we had single sleeves worn as headpieces and skirts complete with wonky asymmetric proportions. Choppy demi-skirts in utilitarian shapes also trailed around models' feet.
This is the third collection that we have seen Owens use a sleeping bag construction to create soft squidgy sculptures around the form. (Nothing wrong with that. Fashion needs more interesting continuums.) Again, it is the Japanese designers - Junya Watanabe's collection of A/W 04 - and Leigh Bowery before, who played with both garment and flesh in such a way. For Rick Owens, this season, the wrapping evolved to capes. Combined with monastic headpieces, there was an air of the witch doctor about some looks. Further explorations in dressmaking saw obi-ladybird knotted shapes at the back and pelmets made of upended patterns for jackets – as well as Geoffrey Beene style experiments with displayed sleeves.
This collection was an appraise of some reoccurring themes within Owen's recent canon: protection, extinction, cult-ish groups and fragility. From the side, the sleeve of a grey sweater worn on the head resembled an elephant’s trunk, whilst the washed out peppermint colour evoked the memory of Owen's A/W 16 Mastadon collection. In terms of other colours that featured here, as well as greens, camels, browns, and creams, a high shine black section was knock out. Haphazard panels worked together in a symbiotic cohesion that subversively made total sense. A note of elegance arrived via a peeling away of shoulders at the back of the silhouette.
The collection may have been about deconstruction, but the show, as an event, felt super harmonious. As the keys of a piano played over the audio system, the pieces communicated an emotion of comfort and safety. It was a feel good show. Mainly because of its calmness. Mainly because it was really good.