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Show Report

Show Report: Rick Owens S/S 16 Womenswear

by Lucy Norris on 3 October 2015

Lucy Norris reports on the Rick Owens S/S 16 womenswear show.

Lucy Norris reports on the Rick Owens S/S 16 womenswear show.

Three chords on a piano echoed throughout the concrete basement of the Palais de Tokyo.  Black tailcoats and black post-mortem rubber boots opened the collection, whilst lyrics from Exodus created an ominous soundscape. As the words "this land is mine, God gave this land to me" sang out, a demonstratively dark air - delivered by these opening tyrannical looks - reminded one that there will soon be an exhibition at The Louvre, entitled  'Founding Myths: From Hercules to Darth Vader'.

The phenomenal music (performed by Gospel vocalist, Eska) wasn't the only thing doing some heavy lifting. So were the girls. Revealing their Herculean strength - as some models lifted their own body weight - women were literally carrying other women down the runway. Immediately calling to mind Leigh Bowery, when he would strap bundled female bodies to his, upside down and in any which way. This pre-internet reference will look new to many people. Rick Owens, a designer who is more fascinated by the body than clothes, harvested the strength of our anatomy, impressing this value onto his pieces. Sculptural gladiator sandals, in blush or silver with a concave heel were now at standing eye level. A sure fire way to get your footwear noticed, the way the shoes merchandised the performance was utterly Warholian.

Rivers of copper and silver metallics were inserted into sporty sculptural dresses and tunics. A collage of satin, crinkly nylon and leather saw the colour orange add a pop to the palette of terracotta, stone and milky granite. Folded and structured, many of these sci-fi inflected neoclassical pieces had volume, which built out from the back. As if these girls were going somewhere fast, it reminded one of Hussein Chalayan’s ‘Speed’ collection of A/W 2009. Papery translucent outerwear in shades of chestnut and khaki were really strong, and saw the show’s display of physical strength translate to our wardrobes.

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