Of all the Parisian designers, RICK OWENS is certainly the one who best captures the essence of the city. For Fall/Winter 2019/2020, he dedicates his prêt-à-porter collection to Larry Legaspi. “Larry who? Never heard of him!” That’s okay, and this is why we love Rick, a great mentor who told us, “Larry was the man responsible for the silver and black space-sleaze looks of LaBelle and Kiss in the 1970s.”
Rick is a man who strongly relates to history. Sixteen years ago, when he moved from Los Angeles to Paris, he located his atelier and boutique—perversely—in the historic, highly refined neighborhood between place Bourbon and the Palais Royal. Charles James—America’s first couturier—had a great influence on Rick, who shamelessly admits he “knocked off [James’] cocoon coat, and reinterpreted it in raw-seamed shearling, nutria, and duvet.” (This season Rick wrote the preface to Charles James: The Couture Secrets of Shape, a contemporary reading of the twentieth-century couturier, edited by Homer Layne and Dorothea Mink.)
Rick is a great innovator who likes to reinvent himself by mixing past and futuristic imagination in present time. This fall and winter, his women will follow a graver, more solemn path. At Palais de Tokyo, the room is troubled, almost opaque, punctured by single points of light emitting from the high-ceiling. The atmosphere is raw like in a temple, keeping the audience alert. One by one, enigmatic figures pass in a slow march, one that welcomes questions and doubts: goddesses draped whole à la Fortuny; hybrid women in subtle yet vivid-colored leather overalls; half-naked girls wearing razor-cut, high-shouldered, raw silk jackets. The rhythm is slow but steady, and this procession gives a feeling of change, of a weird mutation. Thankfully the warm voice on the soundtrack—Michèle Lamy, Rick’s beautiful wife and the love of his life—restores confidence. This binding relationship shared publicly reinforces the trust we feel in Rick’s fashion.
Rick is a wizard who reminds us that with love and dedication, we can find beauty in a fragmented and sometimes unwelcoming world.
Photos © 2019 OwensCorp, France