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Rick Owens AW15 Dazed backstage Sphinx
Centre, Ben (Tomorrow Is Another Day) right, Tomasso I (Tomorrow Is Another Day) backstage at Rick Owens AW15Photography Lea Colombo

Rick Owens gives his take on AW15 penis-flashing controversy

‘Am I not allowed to use this imagery? Is it only appropriate for a Michael Fassbender movie?’

Paris Fashion Week ended on Sunday, but people are still talking about one menswear show in particular. Yes, that would be Rick Owens' controversial AW15 collection, which saw penis-flashing tunics and peephole flaps in an otherwise monastic line of capes, robes and peacoats.

After being accused of bad taste and male objectification (seriously), Rick Owens has responded to the online uproar by being, well, pretty chill about the whole thing. 

"I pass classical marble statues of nude and draped figures in the park every day, and they are a vision of sensuality – yes, but also of grace and freedom," he told WWD. "As a participant in one of our most progressive aesthetic arenas, am I not allowed to use this imagery? Is it only appropriate for a Michael Fassbender movie? I thought this might be an interesting question."

Owens, of course, is referring to Shame, the Steve McQueen film starring Michael Fassbender as a sex addict. The film went on to win several BAFTAs and inspire its share of slow-mo Tumblr GIFs of Fassbender's full-frontal nudity. 

The designer also said that he was "influenced by fear and shame growing up" and "(loved) the idea of putting a more loving energy out there whenever I can."

But don't think that Owens is advocating public pantlessness for men as the latest trend. "We all know that runway looks aren’t meant to be taken literally," he added, "they illustrate an ethos. I would like to present a utopian world of grace free of fear and shame."