Rick Owens S/S 2014
Paris, 26th September 2013. Rick Owens has raised the bar.
White chicks? Skinny models? Walk-pose-exit-straightface runway show? Forget those. We got something better for you: Rick Owens Spring/Summer 2014 show.
The show was a step dance performance. As if the show wasn’t unusual enough, the cast is truly something different from hundreds of shows we’ve been seeing from New York, London, Milan and Paris in this fashion month. It was performed by step dancer girls, and what makes it different is, the majority of them are black, and all of them are plus sizes.
Of course, there’s definitely debates of the presentation. Some love it. Some hate it. Some confused. Of course, when you see the runway pictures in Style.com you won’t see the usual thing. You’ll be confused, especially if you don’t watch the video of the show. But surely, you can tell something is going on.
I think the message is crystal clear. Fashion is an interpretation of visual beauty. And most of the time, fashion didn’t represent universal beauty. Fashion often represent only one form of beauty: White and skinny. Which is a shame, because fashion should be representing universal beauty. And when you’re not in on of the “white” or “skinny” category, people valued your self less. You, valued your self less.
Even if it’s not the best collection, this is the best show, best casting of Spring/Summer 2014 for me.
Rick Owens is breaking all rules, murdering all stereotypes of fashion with this show. The message is crystal clear here: DIVERSITY
This is a “FUCK YOU” in the face for all stereotyping in fashion industry.
I pondered about just reblogging this, let the pictures, the link to the video, the review above, speak for themselves, exactly as much as my blog usually stays, but then again, I felt like that would go completely against what this runway show means.
I am going to be completely honest: at the beginning, when those lovely ladies started to climb down the stairs stomping their feet, I thought “oh, that’s a cool opening act”, and it wasn’t until a minute later that it struck me like a nice cold-handed slap on the face that what I was watching was the entirety of the show. They were wearing the collection that I’m supposed to be focusing on, and instead I’m looking at these women step dancing and not allowing me to capture onto the details that I try to capture with my excuse of a camera lens during the shows, with their brusque motions and daunting frowns. I had to stop, I was completely flabbergasted at myself, at finding myself in a mold that a lot of personal interest and exploring a concept of aestheticism drove me into. And for a few seconds, I wanted to bang my head against the desk.
I’m not going to approach the subject on diversity and body image, because they are being once again brought upon the surface by the lack of skinny and white models present on this “stage”. Both have been discussed at length and a lot of good points have been made better than I would.
The subject that touched me the most was the fact that, to watch a “size prototype” that matches a general beauty standard walk over and over kind of takes the humanity of the thing. Granted you go to shows to see how the clothes, which are supposedly the designer’s artistic expression, flow, how they fall down and how they look as you [or the model] walk. Fashion is an industry, after all, and the amount of editors and buyers in the shows are a display of how much designers are showcasing an art form to make a certain profit out of it, or to make their name a stapler. But with this day’s disposition of information and imagery, the access to these creations to see how they fall [especially in a RTW collection] is something that can really be postponed to after the show.
But the thing is, you don’t just walk, pose, and retreat in those clothes. You are not a prototype, either; you are a human being, and if there’s anything that has been more appealing to the masses and buyers are how you see them as people are living with the clothes shown [see the amazing growth of streetstyle photography, and how you’re more likely to look at a catalog with a scenery behind it rather than a studio photograph]. And as you live, you crouch, you skip, you stumble, you end up in awkward positions or you make a funny face, be it aggressive or placid. You don’t pose [but if you do, I am taking my hat off to you] and you don’t look always gloriously sartorial. I take around 25 pictures of the same thing that I post here, and only choose one out of many: but keep in mind that it still doesn’t take away its natural beauty. It doesn’t take away that you’re human. And while there’s beauty in sculpted cheekbones, in plump lips, in striking eyes, in the fluidity and motion of a walk, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t beauty anywhere else.
Fashion is an art form, and as an art form you use it for expression and/or escapism. There’s nothing wrong with watching ethereal beings walking by and portraying a wonderfully-clad character while you’re putting yourself in their amazing shoes, but it seems as if the industry has forgotten the artistic pull of our heartstrings at the beginning. And how do you do that? You appeal to our humanity. And even if you want to take the watcher to a completely new world [if you’re singing the Alladin song in your head right now, you’re welcome], there’s nothing that stops you from allying to their own emotions at the same time.
In a couple of shows I’ve been to, I witnessed people cheering when models stop in the runway to take off their really high heels because they were afraid to fall, and I think that’s because subconsciously, we don’t want to look at just these prototypes. We want to see a human being wearing them. And that’s what [along with so many other issues] this show portrayed. I once took a photograph of the shoe a model carried along the runway. She did so under a myriad of applause and hoots, and I thought it was great, but I got criticized by it, by posting it, by even wanting to photograph it, with a fitting strip dangling from it, no less, because it was far from the perfect standard of a runway show.
And I’m thanking Rick Owens for shoving every unwearable shoe picture in everyone’s face, and making it palpitating and palpable. And most of all, for waking me up from that trance of escapism I landed myself in.