Girls on girls on girls, Rick Owens takes on contortionists for SS16.
The shock of Female Strength
Of course the spectacle of walking Karma Sutra/Leigh Bowery-esque positions would make any near-end-of-fashion-month journalist pick up their pen frantically. The moment, during look four, where two women harnessed together emerged from the backstage at the Rick Owens show yesterday was really quite emotionally invigorating. According to the designer, he has been looking at the ways in which women nurture each other recently, and here was the product (for context, it should be remembered that there is a great deal of male privilege in Rick Owens having the platform upon which to explore this, and for me in having the place to publish these words). In a catwalk context this provides a pin which pricks the rhythm of the expected model after model after model cycle of a show – here is the newsworthiness. The interesting tropes of discussion arising in post were centered upon this being a collection for ‘strong women’ however. This as a term is incredibly shortsighted – claiming the two are so ferociously different that when they are teamed it is a shock. The point in fact is that to be female and to exist takes strength: in a society that places the female near the bottom of the patriarchy food chain, it takes a damn sight more strength to be female in this world. The fact that women’s strength come as a shock shows how far we have yet to go in our understanding of the way women experience and navigate the world
Now for the clothes…
Of course, the offering was very Rick. The impossibly difficult to wear silhouettes of the jutted sleeveless crinkle jackets and intestine like curved leather fronted dresses will be adored by his closest followers, and fit perfectly into a beautifully curated rack of blacks and flesh-tones. The loose-flowing chiffon bombers were particularly accessible, as were the off centre shifts, and the long black sleeveless coat – they will be on the buyers’ must have list for sure. But it is Rick’s footwear that always strikes a chord: the gladiator sandals – with their relentless straps and angular soles are super covetable.
Backstage Photographer: Thurstan Redding
Words: Tom Rasmussen