Article Oct 28, 2016

You are no longer passing

Rick Owens rethinking radical gestures

Rick Owens is looking to pull back on some of his more radical gestures.

The American designer launched his eponymous brand in 1994, and has since gone on to court controversy, particularly with his glory-holed man-dresses and his decision to parade women carrying other women on their backs.

But for his spring/summer 2017 collection, which was shown as part of Paris Fashion Week last month (Sep16), Owens opted for a line of garments full of grey tulle, mesh bubbles, yards of gauzy muslin and sprays of pale purple ostrich feathers.

The 54-year-old shares that he was keen to swap out the armor traditionally associated with his brand of strong women.

“I thought, I can make it more intense by distilling all of it into a smaller visible gesture,” he told

As part of his own evolution, last year (15) Owens bought the factory in Concordia not far from Venice, Italy which he's worked with for 12 years. Part of the reason for the investment was due to him reassessing his business and trying to patch together his 20 years' worth of archives.

“I got mad. I said, none of you thought we were going to survive long enough that we might need this stuff?” he laughed. “If the past was about survival the future needs to be about refining what we've done. I need to live a certain way now.”

The designer added that he feels the passing of his father last year (15), has impacted his work. He claims he had a very strained relationship with his dad, due to their conflicting ideologies.

“Dad's intellectual bullying of me had good results, and I've always wondered if I had a completely well-adjusted family life with a father, who would not allow fear and shame in the house, how would I have turned out?” he mused. “I wouldn't have had anything to react to so I'm grateful for that.”