rick owens explains why he punched his rogue model

“I don’t mind drama, but I don’t like death threats,” the designer said in a new interview.

by Emily Manning
25 August 2015, 12:12am

Rick Owens' runways are never short of spectacles: Estonian heavy metal bands, step teams, and casual full frontal male nudity have all taken centre stage. But when his longtime male model muse Jera unveiled a scrap of white fabric scrawled with the message "Please Kill Angela Merkel Not," Owens was understandably furious. In a new interview with Surface, Rick conceded his anger was in part a desire to distance himself from the act: "The whole reason I hit the guy was I knew if I didn't react very strongly it might get out that this was some stunt that I had planned. Everybody had to know how strongly I disagreed with this," the designer said. "I don't mind drama, but I don't like death threats."

Rick also revealed that he hasn't spoken to Jera since, and doesn't plan to. The model "certainly has some demons," AM Casting Director Angus Munro told i-D following the show, but his decade-long tenure as Rick's muse made the guerrilla stunt all the more hurtful: "He was very accepted here and embraced by a community of people who were very affectionate toward him... It was really a self-destructive gesture," Rick told Surface.

Owens told the magazine that his anger ultimately stems from Jera's negative message: "Whenever I do provocation, I'm always doing something that I feel is based on warmth and kindness and love." Even the dicks? Especially the dicks. Owens explained that his runway nudity was actually motivated by body positivity: "That was really about: Let's consider a world where there's no shame. Why did your parents teach you that your penis is ugly?"


Text Emily Manning

Rick Owens