Included with the invitation to his S/S 18 show, Rick Owens gave guests a small reproduction of a THAYAHT head. THAYAHT is the pseudonym of Italian artist and designer Ernesto Michahelles, who died in 1959 after winning acclaim for his contribution to the Futurist movement. Naturally, Owens feels drawn to what he dubs the 'brutalist aspirational aesthetic' of the late maker. Only two of these heads exist in the world - Owens owns one. Now we all get to have a small part of the rare, strange universe that inspires him. How apt, given how he runs his label. Owen’s clothes are totally uncompromising - deliciously hard to wear without going all out and subscribing to the Rick Owens tribe. He invites wearers and attendees to share in his obsessions and flatter themselves that they are a part of his special world by dressing the part.
The soundtrack was also uncompromising - witty and forceful in that unique way Owens is. It featured the lyrics from Sexual Harassment’s 1983 track I Need a Freak. 'In these time of hate and pain / We need a remedy to take us from the pain' - how appropriate. And who does escapism better than Owens? When you look at his clothes, you’d be forgiven for imagining that he’d be terrifying. He’s actually one of the more personable, warm men in fashion. That tension manifests in his work as well as the tongue-in-cheek soundtrack - after all, isn’t Owens the most joyful, proud freak in fashion? Today’s collection was both intimidating and inviting. It was deeply sensual, not only because of those incredibly tight and delightfully short shorts that opened the show, but because of the many glimmers of flesh, the sheer fabrics. At moments, it felt a bit like Rick Owens does gap year - models came ladened with giant bumbags and tops-cum-bags that featured giant pockets. Recently, his work has seen models swathed in duvets and wrappings. Today he’d shrunk things around the waist - trousers were very high, jackets cropped. It was a sexy look.
On the invitation, when paying tribute to the generosity of the THAYAHT estate for allowing him to reproduce the head, Owens mentioned that the late artist spent the last years of his life trying to document proof of UFOs. He explained that this only made him love his work more. Again, how apt. One gets the sense that Owens wishes we could all join him in the other-worldly place he’s fashioned for himself. Models descended from the highs today, appearing metres above us on scaffolding specially erected outside the Palais de Tokyo. They came down from the sky. But really, nothing in the Rick Owens world has ever felt fully instep with the mundanities of planet Earth. This was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen - a triumph in every single way.