In a silent and almost abandoned Venise, usually crowded and bustling before COVID-19, Rick Owens presented an eerily realistic collection set against a smoke filled runway on the bank of the Lido – a Venetian Lagoon.
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Fall/Winter 2021 is season three on the Venice Lido for Owens and his small Italian team, four if you include the men’s video he made last July.
The collection was inspired by Gethsemane – a garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, where Jesus spent his last night before the crucifixion – it’s also considered as a location of great importance in several religions. It explored fear and anxiety, and called for a strong resistance against tyranny. The collection also mocked conservatism and male aggression.
Combined with intriguing styling, the reference served as a jumping off point for Owens to experiment with new textiles while also updating cult-favorites such as square toe boots and cut-out dresses. Owens combined silhouettes and styles that usually are a no-no – the sequin trouser and oversized puffer jacket look stands out – yet somehow makes them look wholly desirable.
Other standouts were the vibrant sequin pieces that are in contrast to the designer’s usual subdued color palette. Departing from traditionally heavier textiles, the sequin thongs, bodysuits, and trousers were a refreshing and delicate update to traditional house codes.
Rick Owens is one of the few designers in any fashion capital to put face masks on all of his models, and they added edginess – and a dose of reality – to these grandiose couture shapes. A choice made because, as Owens puts it, “they are a vote for responsibility and consideration and an acknowledgment of our immediate collective experience”.
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