Rick Owens, the self-proclaimed emperor of fashion’s dark side, stormed Paris Fashion Week Men’s with a Fall/Winter 2024 collection that was as much a defiant roar as it was a hauntingly beautiful spectacle. Forget the sleek minimalism and polished perfection that often grace runways-Owens’ catwalk was a rebellion, a celebration of the grotesque and subversive, a defiant middle finger to the tyranny of beige and conformity.
Think Darth Vader, but with a heart of gold. That’s the essence of Owens’ Fall/Winter 2024 menswear collection. Bulbous puffer jackets enveloped the models like protective cocoons, their exaggerated proportions a stark contrast to the homogenized ideal of airport duty-free beauty. These weren’t just clothes; they were armor, a shield against intolerance and a rallying cry for individuality.
Leather, Owens’s signature material, took on a ferocious edge. Biker jackets flared like flames, their zipper fangs bared in a snarl against the injustices of the world. Hulking cardigans, big enough to house a small village, draped over models like protective cloaks, exuding a quiet strength that whispered defiance.
And then there were the donuts. Not the sugary kind, but swirling loops of shorn and long-haired goat fur that turned men into walking candy apples, a playful jab at the superficiality of societal expectations. It was a reminder that beauty comes in all forms, even the unexpected, the unconventional, the downright bizarre.
Rick Owens is a master storyteller, and his show notes were as compelling as the clothes themselves. He called the collection “Porterville,” a reference to his hometown and the intolerance he faced as a “flamboyant, sensitive kid.” But his gaze went far beyond personal experience, landing on the brutal realities of Ukraine and Gaza. This collection, he declared, was a “grotesque and inhuman” response to the “most disappointing human behavior” of our time.
But amid the darkness, there was hope. Owens sees fashion as a tool for rebellion, a way to offer “alternatives” to the cookie-cutter conformity peddled by those airport beauty aisles. His clothes are a mockery of the banal, a defiant cry against intolerance and the tyranny of “good taste.’’
As models marched through Owens’ grand Parisian home, their balloon-like boots squeaking on the worn parquet floors, David Bowie’s “Warszawa” echoed through the air, a melancholy counterpoint to the collection’s rebellious spirit. The alien shoes, the furry superhero capes, the astronaut suits – they were all glimpses of a future Owens imagined, one where individuality reigned supreme and utopia beckoned just over the horizon.
©Photo: Rick Owens