A beautiful collection doesn’t require ruffles, embroidery or ribbons. Rick Owens stole the season (again) by sending models down the runway wearing living flesh-and-blood accessories. The models carried each other as human backpacks hanging out in front and swung over their back, with their legs dangling over their partner’s shoulders.
Owens’s S/S16 is a tribute to female strength, which should not to be confused with the general idea of a ‘strong woman’. It comments on female strength as a norm, saying he had been thinking about the ways women nurture others, by metaphorically taking on another human being’s weight. It also references the physical labor’s of pregnancy— by way of silhouettes with distended volumes, like a pregnant woman’s belly. The many straps featured on the garments, are a symbolic reference to a woman’s ability and strength to carry the weight of the world, while looking beautiful and unburdened to the outside world.
While his collections are sometimes misunderstood, Owens’s presentations are becoming the most talked about every season, applauded by fashion industry peers as well as blanket media coverage. Owens’s last big catwalk involved full-frontal male nudity – models wore garments with crotch holes cut out – causing a global media uproar. But while the high-minded mainstream press had a good laugh, critics praised the show’s brave take on the themes of “compression” and “pressure built up in silent vessels filled with energy”.