Rick Owens’ AW15 'SPHINX' show was memorable – and not just because of the clothes. Down Paris Fashion Week runway, the designer sent a procession of male models wearing tunics that exposed their penises. Within minutes, the hashtag #DickOwens was trending on Twitter and the show was heralded as the season’s most provocative statement. But what exactly was it a statement about? In a new interview with Surface magazine, the designer unpacks the mystery behind those flesh-flashing tunics.
“That was really about: Let’s consider a world where there’s no shame,” he says. “Why did your parents teach you that your penis is ugly? All the most conservative or vehement reactions were: ‘How disgusting!’ ‘Why would anyone want to show a shrivelled up nutsack like that?’ And: ‘Why was it so small?’ It was amazing that the second thing was why was it so small? Like, who taught you as a child that it was supposed to be bigger? And that it was ugly?”
“Let’s consider a world where there’s no shame. Why did your parents teach you that your penis is ugly?” – Rick Owens
This is a more comprehensive answer than the one Owens gave us back in January. “Nudity is the most simple and primal gesture – it packs a punch,” she said. “It’s powerful. It’s a straight world now. It says something about being independent. Who else can really get away with this stuff? It’s a corporate world! This was our private moment.” But the designer is no stranger to controversy – in fact it’s one of the founding principles of his fashion empire. “I built the company on me pissing in my mouth,” he once famously said.