Rick Owens AW23 – Paris Fashion Week
Michael Meir-Wright looks back at the new collection from the American designer at PFW
Less than two months since the debut of his Rick Owens AW23 menswear collection, the peerless American designer returned to Paris Fashion Week for his womenswear offering, Luxor. And again, he continued his preoccupation with spectacular architectural forms in an arrestingly avant-garde showcase that also revealed a fascination with vintage science-fiction.
The catwalk at the Palais de Tokyo was awash with fog for the start of the story, beginning with a selection of obsidian looks – a staple of the designer’s oeuvre. Asymmetrical floor-length gowns were paired with oversized, puffed-out shawls to create a sense of maximalism to buoy the entire proposition. One of the many highlights came with the giant garland doughnuts draped across the body that played with form, while striking accents of silver paired with structural detailing drew the eyes in. Draped hems and billowing capes recalled the familiar iconic costumes of Sixties Star Trek, but reconceptualised for a real future.
Owens likewise pursued his well-known reverence for Egyptian history throughout the collection. Not content with naming it after the ancient seat the Pharaohs, the designer set about refashioning their iconography in his own image. Otherworldly models sported hairpieces and eye makeup that evoked the mythical Sphinx, and enveloping coats were defined by towering peaked shoulders to put one in mind of Giza’s Great Pyramid.
Not to be forgotten on its anniversary, the show also incorporated a sombre reflection on the ongoing war in Ukraine. Rather than make bold statements, instead the tenacity of the besieged nation was acknowledged with a selection of looks tinged in the colours of the Ukrainian flag. It was a timely reminder amid avant-garde extravagance of what is at stake in an uncertain world.
Luxor was rooted in wildly disparate inspirations, and, in the hands of a less assured designer, it might have become incomprehensible. But Rick Owens has never disappointed, and for AW23, he brought past, present and future together for an inventively compelling, yet touching, journey.
To read our review of the Coperni show from PFW, click here
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