• Text Daniel Challis
  • Photography Virginie Khateeb
  • 23rd January 2015

Primal Flexin'

Sending would-be attendees slivers of branded animal hide as their show invitation is enough of an indication that Rick Owens means business – either that or the faint smell of burning hair will do the trick.

Cleverly conjoining pieces this season, with monstrous cable knit jumpsuits and twisted trenchcoat skirts, he once again delivers to an expectant – and diverse – legion of fans. The digital whirlwind overnight, however, was not about clothes but the show’s full-frontal nudity, enacted via a handful of garment cut-outs and crops revealing (more subtly, perhaps, than many headlines will play up) the boys’ modesties. Evidence of society’s prudishness? There was nothing here you wouldn’t see carved out of marble in a museum.

Referencing what the show notes described as a “forgotten black and white French movie set in a military submarine” and the difficulty of preserving “reason under extreme pressure”, cue a visual interpretation of the duress (both physical and mental) implied: shapes became disfigured, a peacoat flipped upside down revealing a cape morphed into sweatshirts.

Owens has never been one to shy away from sex as subject matter: take SS15’s reference to Nijinsky’s 1912 ballet L’Après-Midi d’un Faune, specifically a scene involving a masturbating faun. And nudity? The brand’s Paris flagship bears its own life-sized model of a urinating Rick. It’s a life constant. Let’s see this show discussed for the clothes and the message they communicate… but not without a wry smile.