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Rick Owens Womenswear A/W09

Backstage from Paris Fashion Week

There didn't seem any point in asking Rick Owens about his inspiration references for his A/W 08 collection. Having already established a Rick Owens sculptural language that is instantly recognisable, instilling changes in the palette and textures, there is no obvious theme or motif that jumps out crying for your attention. There lies the attraction of Rick Owens and why his clothes are so desirable and easy to slip on. Still, when asked whether there was a reference point, he surmised that the swan would be it. "There's something so beautiful about the swan - simple, beautiful and lovely." Maybe too pretty a reference to attribute to a collection of heavily flared and structured jackets in suede, coated fleece and leather and bag boots that engulf the calves. There is however a noted delicacy that comes into play with the icy palette of what Owens calls "dirty white", the delicate fur wafting like halos on the hats and the surprising addition of oyster gazar. Dazed Digital asks Owens about this surprising softness.

Dazed Digital: There was a softness about the collection that was quite unexpected. How did that come about?
Rick Owens: I knew someone was going to ask me to explain it and I can't explain it! It started off very severe and very austere and then things kept happening. Embroidery happened and I've never done embroidery before. Then the brocade happened.

DD: Then there's that wonderful oyster gazar...
RO: Yes oyster! I always forgot that name! I use gazar a lot and that colour too. We actually called it ash! I'm going to call it oyster next season and nobody will know that it's the same colour - oyster, ash, pearl, bone...

DD: What's the story behind the fur halos on the hats?
RO: There's no real story but I like being able to turn fur into something that they can throw into a bag like it's not that special.

DD: It seems like you've built up a 'Rick Owens' code that has really been going strong the past few seasons.
RO: Which is exactly what I wanted to do. When I started making clothes, the main idea behind it was that I really resented that exaggerated or radical moments of fashion were reserved for couture and I swore that I would corrupt the world by making those shapes softer in denim etc that could be applicable to real life. I wanted to make couture an everyday thing. Daytime and nightime - I didn't want there to be a difference. That's what I keep trying to do. I do want there to be a vocabulary that I've created. I see it happening everytime and I feel like it's working. I feel like I'm expressing it the way I want to and it's very satisfying.

Photography by Angela di Paolo and film by Pierre Debusschere.

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