Rick Owens is known for being highly controversial with his runway presentations, but did he take it too far this time?
At his recent Spring 2016 Women's Fashion show, Owens sent models down the runway, who were strapped upside down to other models. The models walking had to put their heads through the other's legs so that they could see where they were going.
Lift me up @RICKOWENSONLINE @VogueRunway #PFWSS16 pic.twitter.com/FXRMZWoSFO
— Luke Leitch (@LukeLeitchUK) October 1, 2015
Human knapsacks at Rick Owens. She ain't heavy, she's my sister. pic.twitter.com/H7pltsJpaq — Matthew Schneier (@MatthewSchneier) October 1, 2015Media outlets are reporting that Owens left the show immediately afterwards, perhaps to avoid questions about his "human backpacks," but Dazed Digital was able to catch up with him and ask a few questions.
"In the Spring men's collection which shares the same name (Cyclops), that focused vision was propulsive and aggressive," Owens said about the concept for the runway show.
"When applied to women's, I see that focused vision being more about nourishment, sisterhood/motherhood and regeneration; women raising women, women becoming women, and women supporting women – a world of women I know little about and can only attempt to amuse in my own small way…"Even the straps had a special kind of symbolism
"Straps can be about restraint but here they are all about support and cradling. Straps here become loving ribbons," Owens added.
The music for the Rick Owens Spring 2016 show was provided by a live gospel singer who sang "This Land is Mine," a song from the movie Exodus. After the models did their final walk, in a large group rather than the regular single file, she continued singing. The fashion crowd seemed to appreciate it though, Dazed Digital reports, as they swarmed around her and took pictures.
The choice of music was symbolic, too.
"The music for the show is Unkle's arrangement of 'This Land' – the theme from the movie Exodus - a song I use here as a reflection on the timelessly female way of protecting way of protecting and nurturing a tribe, sung, live by a vocal powerhouse Eska, " Owens said.
Rick Owens has become well known for his avant-garde presentations at Paris Fashion Week. For his 2015 Fall Winter Menswear Collection, Rick Owens sent his male models in long angular tunics that gave viewers a pretty clear view of their penises. According to Fader Magazine, The show was called "Defile" and it left a lot of fashion people wondering if the "intimate exposure" was intentional or accidental. Of course, it was intentional. It's Rick Owens.
"Well, isn't it time?" Owens said when I-D magazine asked about his presentation of male nudity on the fashion runway. "I thought it was the most simple, primal gesture-and you know I love a simply tiny, little gesture that packs the wallop."
For Owens, it seems to always be about making a statement that's revolutionary and creates a rift in the "regular world."
"It's very powerful," Owens said. "Not many people can do that. I mean, it's a straight world now. And it also, I think, says something about being independent. Who else can really get away with that kind of stuff? It's a corporate world."
Another memorable Rick Owens fashion show moment came in 2013 when he replaced all of his professional models with steppers, dancers he recruited from the United States via four stepping teams: Washington Divas, Soul Steppers, The Momentums, and The Zetas. As Essence notes, most of these girls were African American with athletic bodies, in a fashion world that is normally criticized for its lack of diversity. Instead of just walking down the runway, the girls performed a stepping routine, shocking most of the people in the audience.
It was definitely not something you'd expect at a show during Paris Fashion Week. But as we're realizing more and more, with Rick Owens anything is possible.
[Photo by Francois Guillot/ Getty Images/AFP]