Well, that’s gotta be a first. While fashion shows are no stranger to runway protests (in fact, you can head here for our top five fashion week disruptors) a model named Jera at today’s Rick Owens SS16 menswear show brought out a banner mid-walk, with the words “PLEASE KILL ANGELA MERKEL” (German Chancellor) scrawled across it. It also seemingly said “NOT” underneath, but that part got obscured to most by the way it was held.
Backstage, the designer spoke out on the statement: “I think it says Kill Angela Merkel or something? Is that what it said? I don’t know because it was not my idea. He pulled it out and I punched him when he came off stage. He’s been my male muse for the past twelve years or something and I think he just felt comfortable enough to do something in a show and I’m furious.”
Owens, who last season sent models down the runway with their penises exposed, revealed that the statement felt pretty ironic in light of the collection’s theme – protesting male aggression. “It’s about the idea of male aggression – whenever I think about men’s collections I always think about the idea of aggression because it’s just part of a man’s DNA and it’s something that I struggle with and I think other men do too,” he explained. “Like, when does ambition and efficiency spill over into aggression? And this model just gave into his aggression, and his balance was off. He became imbalanced. His aggression took over.”
Owens was clear on one thing though – this was not his idea. “Please, it was not planned...I don’t know what I have to do to tell everybody that.” An official statement from the house said: “Rick Owens does not claim responsibility for the act of protest by a model at the Spring Summer 2016 show. This was an independent statement and does not reflect the opinion of the house of Rick Owens.”