Rick Owens is the ALPHA and OMEGA
Rick Owens is the ALPHA and OMEGA—a creator and destroyer of worlds, an intrepid explorer of orphic oddness, a mapper of interstices, and a maker of awe-inspiring fashion. His delicious dark spirit is always on display through his brutalist, gender fluid artistry. He references—and often incorporates—gnomic rituals, séances, sexual innuendo and cultish practices. His creative offerings pay homage to the particularity of sexual subcultures, gender obscura, and subversive aesthetics. Nineties phenomena, dystopian motifs, modernist architecture and occult themes are his cup of tea; he playfully characterizes his darkly chic gear as ‘primitive elegance’ and ‘glunge’—an amalgam of glam and grunge. He investigates social archetypes, rips them to shreds, re-fashions them, and then exposes their outer appearance and inner conditions. Every silhouette and detail—whether a pleaded top or a plywood table—has an uncanny signature Rick look—a minimalist, unhinged utilitarianism the designer has faithfully implemented since he entered the fashion game back in 1994. Focusing on directional shapes and silhouettes, with references to the freakier side of fashion via health goth, crossover clothes, bondage garb, alien apparel, and multi-gender get-ups, Mr. Owens will fuck you up in a flash—and keep you coming back for more every season!
Where do you do all your creative work?
In Paris at our humble abode at Place du Palais Bourbon, 7th arrondissement— the concrete bunker of our dreams. Michèle and I live there but it also doubles as our studio, showroom and design den. I often work out of Italy, as well—that’s where production happens.
It seems like you have so much going on—a furniture line, your main brand, your diffusion line (Drkshdw), e-commerce, collabs, etc. How do you balance it all? Are you an ace multitasker?
I don’t multitask well at all. There’s too much chaos and cacophony around me. As I get older, I realize I need space and personal boundaries to contemplate and compartmentalize. Being solo or secluded in the cutting room, for instance, allows me to bring things into focal awareness; it gives me a kind of linear direction and inner tranquility.
When you envisage a garment, a piece of furniture or an entire range, for that matter, how do you organize references and inspirations?
Mine is a kind of freestyle, free-spirited design process; I like to keep references vague and proceed along ad hoc lines. That forces me to organize loose perceptual material into an integrated, holistic concept. I prefer abstractions to literal references (I don’t do mood boards, etc.) and I like to interrogate my previous work/ranges as a means and reference point for going forward. That’s what helps me to improve and grow.
Who are a few of your fashion heroes?
hristian Lacroix, Gareth Pugh, and any designer who doesn’t make rigid rules and obnoxious proclamations.
What’s the key to success?
Work from an authentic and passionate place, and be prolific no matter what. The more creative output you produce, the better you’ll get at it and recognition will inevitably follow.
Rick Owens rules !