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Rick Owens Menswear A/W 09

Rick Owens chats backstage about his army of dark urban warriors and what we can expect from Gareth Pugh.

For A/W 09, Rick Owens followed on from his standout S/S 09 womenswear collection with a powerful show that was a pure distillation of his dark, gothic aesthetic. He played up the sculptural elements of his work, adding an oversized hood here, an asymmetric zip there; building fantastical armour for his urban warriors who strode out purposefully with their heads shaved, or sometimes encased in what looked like a nun’s wimple. The monastic vibe was amplified by the dramatic music from ‘Salome’ that soundtracked the show. The trademark  almost alien boots were very much in evidence as was the use of  strictly un-PC elements like fur and alligator. As the gay zombie cult classic “Otto, or Up With Dead People” (which Owens provided the wardrobe for) so aptly demonstrated, these are clothing for the dark and stylish denizens of the underworld.

There was a sense of purity and rigour in the nearly all black palette , which he returned to after a few seasons of more muted colours. Backstage, Owens said, “For me, clothing is a cocoon. When I first started I was doing a lot of black stuff. I said I don’t wanna do this aggressive, defensive, clothing for intimidation. I just concentrated on grey for years because I wanted to do something ambiguous and soft but now I like a crispness, the punctuation of black. And I’ve started wearing black myself again.” Though a mentor and friend for Gareth Pugh, he  couldn’t give any clues as to what to expect from Pugh’s much anticipated first menswear show on Sunday – “I have no clue what we’re gonna see. His stuff is in my factory but I haven’t looked. So it’s gonna be a surprise for me too!" Backstage photography by Giovanni Di Nunzio.
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