February 23, 2008 Paris
Having established that base, Owens zeroed in on the outerwear that he so loves to embellish. "I lifted so directly from Lee Bontecou that I'm telling everybody," he said backstage, referencing the American sculptor best known for her menacing fabric and steel constructions of the sixties. Indeed, some of the coats had funnels, à la Bontecou, that protruded several inches above the shoulders like wings and circled around the torso to drape from the hips. These might prove challenging even for Owens' most avant-garde devotees, but there were other pieces that will only broaden his appeal: Take the divine, weightless-looking minks that tied dramatically at the neck to drape in soft folds down the torso, or the edgier peplum styles in (Bontecou again) patchworks of cashmere, metallic leather, and faded denim. These will surely find an eager audience at the Paris transplant's first New York outpost, a Tribeca store at Hudson and Dominick that's scheduled to open this summer.