Rick Owens reflects on his history-making show from Paris Fashion Week.
Speaking in his disarming American drawl, Owens makes it clear he did not set out to make a statement about diversity on the runways, even if it is a hot-button topic. In fact, one of the original impulses for his collection came from his mother, who travels to Paris twice a year for her son’s show.
“She is here during all the model castings and everything, which I love because sometimes you have a 16-year-old girl in a transparent dress having to walk in front of a lot of judgmental people and I just love that my mom is there being cute, giving her cookies and making her feel homey,” he says, a wide grin breaking out on his tanned face.
Yet Owens took her gentle, yet frequent rebukes during fittings—that “it’s only for tall, skinny girls,” or “you have to be thin to pull that off”—to heart, inspiring him to “do stuff that everyone can respond to,” including women with ample bosoms and a full set of curves. “I’ve always heard from retailers that my clothes work on a lot of different body types,” he says, citing his knitwear and jerseys in particular. “I just wanted to go a little further” and emphasize that “everyone is invited” to his fashion party.
“I love dressing giraffes with beautiful long eyelashes, but I like dressing lionesses, too,” he remarks. “It was a real technical exercise in, ‘Are we really getting sizes right? If we are grading from a size 38, are we getting an accurate 48 or are we getting something that is distorted?’