Pretty and beautiful, at least in their traditional standard definitions, are not words one uses to describe Rick Owens’s clothes; words like goth, edgy, eccentric, and odd are more like it. While some of those adjectives still applied at his show in Paris on Thursday, the designer showed a softer, more feminine side to his ethereal, modern designs.
Sitting outside under atypical, gorgeous blue sunny Parisian skies, one wondered if the gloss up of his traditional show space had anything to do with the shift in design direction. Owens has chosen to show at the Palais de Tokyo, hosting his spring collections outside in September skies for over five years. During this time, the fountain was under renovation and sat empty with a decrepit look that attracted skateboarders to cruise the open square pool. It was the perfect spot for Owens to stage his smoke, fog, and even flame-filled runway centerpieces to set the mood for his goth-driven styles.
As the show began, the center fountain turned on suddenly and spouted three stories in the air, even spraying some guests when the breeze kicked in a la a Sea World extravaganza. The music started as classical and then segued into a hauntingly beautiful rendition of “Dazzle” by Siouxsie and the Banshees.
The chiffon looks that opened indicated the softer side Owens was taking, which also notably were primarily in shades of taupe, yellow, Fuschia, and nary a piece of black clothing except for a few pieces that bowed mid-show.
Many looks had a long side train that swept the runway and billowed in the wind for dramatic effect, especially in a light stretch fabric draped and shirred mainly as minidresses. A long sleeve one-shoulder style was prominent in yellow organza, metallic light green, and a slinky fabric that gathered to a point at the midsection. Sheer bolero and shrunken blazers served as layering pieces.
Pleated cape-like short tops had a baby doll nightie effect. These seemed to expand and elongate in dramatic tulle gowns in red or black that swept the floor. Sculpted mini dresses and tops were gathered at the side hip, creating a rose effect. These were done in black, as were a sequin style and spliced leather numbers Owens referred to in show notes as a jellyfish made from food-waste leather. Show notes acknowledged the cotton jersey as GOTS certified and the wovens mainly organic cottons. Thigh-hi platform boots and gladiator sandals with a furlike trim wrapped up the leg.
Many of the looks look Red Carpet ready. According to show notes, it was Cecile B. DeMille Hollywood instead, specifically silent screen star Theda Bara whom Owens described as an exotic ancient femme fatale.
The designer revealed he was spending time in Egypt, where he finds solace in the permanence of the temples, especially Edfu, for which the collection was named. No doubt many will find the softer direction for Owens comforting as well.