Owens’ poignant new-season offering drew inspiration from his childhood, with references to his mum and dad, holidays with his cousins, and the US President’s continued fixation on separating the US and Mexico
Following two shows in which he explored the wild legacy of longtime inspiration Larry LeGaspi – the legendary but almost forgotten designer who dressed the likes of Kiss, Grace Jones, and Divine – we’re back at the Palais De Tokyo to see what Rick Owens has up his (black) sleeve for SS20. Show invite lost in the post? Don’t panic – we have you covered. Here’s everything you need to know.
This season, Owens placed an esoteric sculpture by Leeds-born, LA-based artist Thomas Houseago at the centre of his runway, which models weaved their way around. Additionally, he had some of Houseago’s clay shipped in from his studio, which was spread across the courtyard of the Palais and gave the space an unfinished, under-construction kind of vibe. According to Owens, post-show, the material will be collected up and sent to the École des Beaux-Arts for the sculpting students there to use, which is a pretty cute idea tbh.
RICK IS ‘EXPLORING HIS PERSONAL MEXICANNESS’ THIS SEASON
The collection itself was named after Owens’ grandmother’s Mixtec maiden name, Tecuatl, and came about as a personal reaction to Donald Trump’s ongoing obsession with building a wall between the US and Mexico. In case you didn’t already know, the designer was raised in California by his American dad, and his Native Mexican mum. “My mother and I learned English together when she started taking me to nursery school, and my father worked in the Porterville Public Court System as a translator for the Mexican migrant farm workers that were a major part of the San Joaquin agricultural industry,” he explained in the show’s press notes.
...WHICH LED TO SS20’S COLLABS
As well as the United Farm Workers Association’s Aztec eagle logo, which featured across t-shirts and oversized shirts (with proceeds from sales of these styles going directly to the cause), Houseago’s influence extended from his sculpture and into the collection itself, with a series of Aztec-inspired hieroglyphics he created featuring across loose, jackets, and tunics. The collaboration with sustainable sneaker label Veja was still going strong, with a new hiking style in the mix for SS20, while a new partnership with Champion made its debut. “I remember my cousins wearing Champion tees and shorts when we used to go visit family in Mexico in the 70s,” Owens explains. “Here, I’ve turned those sports clothes into togas, loincloths, and briefs.” The designer also noted that the sportswear brand allowed him to turn their logo monochrome as part of the collab, because duh!
THE REST OF THE COLLECTION DREW ON TRADITIONAL MEXICAN WEAR
Sharp-shouldered tailored jackets and capes were, in some cases, covered in sequins “Like the folkloric China Poblana skirts my mom wore in school pageants growing up in Puebla, Mexico”, Owens explains. Elsewhere, bondage-y style trousers, cargo shorts, and jumpsuits were worn with platform boots with chunky perspex heels and signature Mega Lace sneakers.
THERE WAS A SPECIAL APPEARANCE BY SOME TRADITIONAL MEXICAN MUSICIANS
This season’s soundtrack came courtesy of Owens’ “beautiful wife” Michele Lamy’s band Lavascar and their track “Acceleration”, which was mixed into live drumming by four musicians playing Danza Azteca ceremonial music on drums.