Rick Owens has mountains on his mind. He named today's show after them. And next week, Giorgio Pace Projects is launching Magic Mountain, an exhibition of his furniture, in St. Moritz. A mountain makes an ideal Owens metaphor: aspiration, inspiration (you climb it 'cause it's there), one step closer to heaven. There's more. Mountains are sport, so there was an aerodynamic quality in a snow white shirt, with a collar that swooped back over the shoulder as if borne on a downhill wind. Maybe it was the thin mountain air that inspired the fragile aqua of another shirt. The stripes on small shearling jackets looked ski-ish. The white jersey pants they were paired with could also have been vintage skiwear at a pinch. And the final trio of padded, quilted coat, parka, and vest were clearly so down-filled as to resist the chill winds of Everest itself.
If the abstract sportiness was a new mood for Owens, so was the Steerpike silhouette that matched high-waisted, baggy-crotched pants to cropped, high-waisted jackets with narrow sleeves that seemed to stretch the arms. There was something young and street about the result, as opposed to the grand, ceremonial volumes that Owens specializes in. Of course, they were here too, in the form of the skirts that have become a signature item. The designer confessed to bemusement at the photos from Pitti Uomo of the peacocks that populate Tommy Ton's pictures, with their clashing colors and swathes of exotic stuff and sartorial details for days. "I always want one less button," Owens said. "But here I am with my black dress." And he laughed, appreciating the extremity of the notion. In the context of mountains, his skirts had a shamanic flair. Tibet, maybe. But it's another spiritual center that has really captured Owens' imagination. "My dream job? Head gardener at the Vatican," he said. "I could wear a robe all day." From his lips to the Pope's ears.