September 27, 2012 Paris
There aren't many designers who could provoke you to contemplate Original Sin, but the intensity of Owens' commitment to what he does is such that the Biggest Ideas attach themselves easily to his work. It appeals to the spirit and the flesh. Today, for example, there was a new sheerness and softness in the extraordinary fabrics, a shimmering, papery delicacy in the way they enveloped or cocooned the body. "How can I project kindness through clothes?" Owens asked himself. Like his last menswear collection, this one was called Island, and the designer was imagining a retreat, a "safe spot," a place of peace and serenity. The liquid palette—tones of sand, pearl, ivory, and silver—reflected such a place. So did the textures, including pieces alive with threads of silk.
Free-associating on factors that contributed to the collection, Owens mentioned Gustav Klimt as an inspiration, not just for the gold but also for the linear decoration, such as it was, which emphasized the cap-sleeved line of the clothes. He also referred in passing to the Ballets Russes and Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring. It wasn't so long ago that Owens' Gothic vision was darkly Wagnerian. If the drama of his shows continues to be operatic in scale, he has at least let the sunshine in. But never forget that the snake still circles.