• Text Cristian Burbano
  • 6th March 2021

purgatory 2021

Rick Owens continues his explorations of aggression and biblical references first shown in his men’s show in January with a womenswear collection also titled, Gethsemane. Those unfamiliar, Gethsemane was (according to the New Testament) the garden in Jerusalem where Jesus spent the night before his crucifixion, an uneasy space before his final reckoning.

Owens show notes describe the similarity between Gethsemane and the current state of the world, a purgatory-like time of suspense, waiting for some sort of resolution.

A live-streamed show was filmed on location at the Venice Lido, across the street from Owens’ home, the third show filmed here since the pandemic. Models stomped through a smoke-clouded concrete and stone runway that extended from the beach to the ocean – accompanied by a rousing composition by US artist, Ghostemane.

Unlike most designers this season, Owens is more cautious with his attitude towards the Coronavirus pandemic, while others have opted to show post-Covid attire, Owens is the only designer to have an all-masked collection this season, a sign that things are not back to ‘normal’ just quite yet.

As you’d expect from Owens, looks were monochromatic with black and white dominating. Skintight cashmere bodysuits were paired with over-the-shoulder sequined thongs, while duvet-like capes and snap-on sleeves returned from the designer’s menswear collection. Strong and exaggerated shoulders turned the body into what Owens dubbed ‘architectural bulldozers’ – realised in oversized fabric and sequined versions. The collection’s biblical narrative also manifested across several slashed black denim creations; show notes said that this shredding and ripping of garments is an act of grief and rage, as described in several verses of the bible.