From Rick Owens: “I spend my summers on Venice’s Lido, the site of thomas mann’s novella death in Venice. The main character, a writer ascetically devoted to his craft, develops an obsession with a youth and ends up dying on the beach from Cholera during an epidemic with desperately age-defying hair dye running down his face in the hot sun.
The word ‘Quarantine’ originated from this area’s medieval response to the bubonic plague.
This Women’s runway show is presented in the piazza in front of the lido casino — a monumental 1930s rationalist palazzo that i walk by and worship every day on my way to the beach. doing a digital show without an audience here, with my intimate Italian design room crew from our factory 2 hours away, feels cozy and truthful and spectacular all at once.
My last fall runway shoulder-freak-out wasn’t about power, it was about defiance — defiance in the face of threat. Black grain de poudre tailoring is oversized with sleeves ripped off of hulking shoulders… straps allow the wearer to strip jkts off and cinch around waists as a beach bustle… and satin rib waisted bombers have shoulders that are an exaggerated middle finger to doom.
I just might be leaning into a taste for the lurid that an undercurrent of threat and dread can inspire. Bubblegum pink and alarm red thigh high boots and leather micro- short cutoffs add a garish note, but these micro-shorts can be transformed into waist defining belts with handy pockets that can be worn over simple jersey shifts.
Also, more civilized are architectural cotton poplin tunics and robes with sculpted capes and mantles in bonded wools and cotton poplin. Confections in silk chiffon with strict lines of tulle geo-ruffles sprinkled with trailing gazar ribbons add a grim gaiety.
Most of the leathers used in this collection are double-faced with minimal, unlined construction, including a 0.8mm thick neapolitan-produced juicy double-faced leather we call double butter.
We did a neapolitan gelato dégradé stripe print on chiffon and crêpe, extending it to knits. these knits double up, peel up and down like a banana, covering or exposing at will.
A group of fishnet tank dresses and hoodies have been developed from the masks used in fw12 ‘Mountain’.
Jkts and shorts are presented in stretch denim surfaced with paillettes custom made for us from recycled plastic.
This Women’s Spring collection, as always, shares the same title as the Men’s — ‘Phlegethon’, one of the rivers in the inferno described in Dante’s Divine Comedy, not quite the center of Hell but on the way there.
I used a soundtrack of Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’ remixed for me 10 years ago by Jeff Judd, my longtime music collaborator. This song has always been a reassuring and stabilizing anthem for me but here it gets as dark and delirious as falling into a k-hole, fitting this moment perfectly. Copyright restrictions did not allow me to post it on YouTube so I had to post a substitute version. But Donna went hard for the live show at The Lido…”
Highlights from the Collection
Photos courtesy: OWENSCORP