rick owens honours the glam-rock glory of lust and vice
Kiss, Grace Jones and a vegan sneaker too.
Did you know that Rick Owens had written a book on one of his favourite designers? Published by Rizzoli in October this year, the tome promises to be a celebration of New York-born Larry LeGaspi, the visionary mind behind the iconic looks of Labelle, Kiss, Grace Jones and Divine. Now that he’s finished writing it, his autumn/winter 19 men’s show, entitled Larry, served as both an introduction to, and indication of, just how LeGaspi has influenced Rick Owens.
“He introduced a camp ferocity to the mainstream that helped set a lot of kids like me free, with his Art Deco sexual ambiguity and raw, black leather bombast” explained in the self-penned show notes. Post-show, Rick Owens explained that the book is as much about him as it is about Larry LeGaspi.“I think of Larry’s as a kind of biblical story,” he explained. “The book is about me growing up in a conservative town and all of a sudden being exposed to the glory of lust and vice with these clothes, and how that set me free. There’s exuberance and power and virility and ambiguity and sex and vice, and that was thrilling for me and turned me into who I am today.”
And today, Rick Owens is more than a fashion house, it’s a tribe, a family, and Rick’s collections are so much more than clothes, they provide philosophies to make sense of the world today. The shows are more than just a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it model march, they are experiences of subversion, resistance, strength and creative power. Here, he moved away from the troubled everyday-reality darkness explored in recent seasons and partied inside a glam-rock fantasy of wide, sharp-shoulder jackets, free flowing trousers, soft-knit tank tops and tight black denim jeans, Kiss lightning bolt adorned nylon vests and overblown platforms. “In an era of squeamish conservatism and easy outrage, we could use a bit of flamboyance,” he explained. “There’s a lot to react to right now and clothes are often the first step. That’s why these clothes are excessive, they’re a reaction to how the world is right now.”
The show explored the glory of sex, lust and vice, and flirted with debauchery and decline. “When I was 15, I wanted to be dissipated,” he explained, “and now I am a little bit but there is also responsibility.” The mention of responsibility provided the perfect segue into his vegan sneaker, made in collaboration with Veja. “I love promoting that message,” he explained. “I’m not saying I’m good at it, I’m just saying that’s what we need to move forward.”