Wagner blared on the soundtrack. White smoke billowed in the backdrop. And the models appeared as if emerging from a buffeting wind, their hair a freezy mane, their faces pale and solemn. This was Rick Owens in survival mode, wrapping his valiant heroines in sturdy coats, including duffles, shearlings, and one standout number with a horizontal, undulating collar.
The American designer in Paris has always had a penchant for the raw and primal, something he explored here with kimono-shaped coats and jackets that were often halved by baseball-style stitching, living up to the “battle-scarred heroism” leitmotif of the show, said the program notes. Equally appealing were the more sensible pieces, like short T-shirt dresses (often with asymmetrical hemlines) and knitted sweaters with bulbous sleeves.
So it appears the models won the battle — although with whom, it isn't clear — as they emerged victorious, shod in superb, vertiginously high-heeled stitched boots, symbolizing Owens' move from his industrial aesthetic to something more craftsy, obviously touched by human hands.