February 24, 2007
"I was looking at the work of the French cartoonist Sens, who did caricatures lampooning Poiret women as insects," said Rick Owens backstage before his show. That just might be the most meta inspiration of the season, given fashion's current fascination with the great couturier. It's certainly among the most unusual, and it produced one of Owens' most precise and accomplished shows yet. Paring back on the decorative confections of his last collection, the designer played with volume and texture to create what he called simple, primitive shapes. But if his skirt silhouettea draped jersey design with the hint of a slitremained unchanged from the first to the last of his 35 looks, there was nothing simple about the show's jackets and coats. Among them: shaggy mohair cocoons with stiff, rounded leather collars that arced away from the collarbones in a graceful ellipse; sleek sheared-mink vests with twin lapels falling to the same side; and other toppers with stand-up collars-cum-hoods and rounded backs that looked like a beetle's hard casing.
The highlights, though, were undoubtedly the shearlings. With their nipped waists, exaggerated face-framing collars, and cutaway tails, they deftly walked the barbarism/sophistication line that Owens has made his calling card. You could complain that the show was singular in its focus on outerwear at the expense of all else, but with looks as smashing as Owens' shearlings, why bother?