PARIS — One can always count on fashion designer Rick Owens for the unexpected. Think past shows in which models’ penises could be seen freely floating amid the clothing designs, or the time he staged a step dance show as a comment on racial equality.
But with his Spring/Summer 2016 ready-to-wear collection presented Thursday in Paris, Owens outdid himself.
First, models walked like they always do, parading about the concrete interiors in his minimalist-meets-mini tunic-meets-chic Goth looks, with some interesting-looking embellishments on the surface.
But then, just as one was trying to scrutinize the aesthetic, what was that? A model appeared wearing what looked like a dead body hanging from his neck.
But it wasn’t just any dead body but another model or a mannequin (it was hard to tell really) with her pubic area hanging just beneath the model’s nose, adding an erotic twist to the proceedings.
It was if the model had brought along his S&M friend to a party and the two had got stuck together in the most uncompromising of positions.
And so the theme continued, with these misfits from an erotic get-together, stuck to one another in the most uncompromising positions, now on show for all to see.
Another model walked with a second body scrunched around the neck, high heels poking up by the ears. Another walked caught between the legs of a second body. The legs were stuck in a stiff V around her neck. Another could barely see, thanks to the saucy black boots dangling in front of his face.
Perez Hilton tweeted, “HUH?! #RickOwens’ models are wearing humans as backpacks down the runway!”, while Maxim tweeted what we’re all thinking as we look at the runway photos: “The height of #ParisFashionWeek is models 69ing on the runway.”
But this is unshockable Paris at its most unshockable at Fashion Week, and the audience of regulars was snap-happy rather than scandalized, and seemed more struck by the Gospel group discovered singing live in an alcove, as everyone filed out.
There must be something in the air because there were other out-there moments to be had at Fashion Week today.
Manish Arora sent out a collection of dazzling gypsy disco queens created in his Delhi atelier by hand, in a show that featured disco lights, inspired by what he declared to be his own long-ago disco days, before declaring that he wished he could wear the dresses.
Lanvin, meanwhile, sent out a show of great beauty, sophistication, and fragility, but one in which it was impossible to tell if the models were boys or girls.
It seemed like an intellectual take on the current penchant for mixing and matching male and female models at the ready to wear shows.
But then Lanvin with its beautiful craftsmanship, and intellectual fashion, is always a step ahead—and all without the headline-grabbing antics of wrapping models around other models’ necks.