Rick Owens

Spring 2021Menswear

Pictures by Rick Owens


Rick Owens Looks to the Past to Create a New Future 

Rick Owens is looking forward. Despite his Fall 2020 collection, “Performa”, which he presented back in January, being shut down in production due to the pandemic, Owens ultimately decided to move onto the next, giving us “Phlegethon” via digital Fashion Week. The title refers to one of the five rivers of fire in Greek Mythology which lead to Hades and the Seventh Circle of Hell, and interesting choice for a collection that appeared neither hellish nor damned. 

Video coverage of the collection was shown via voyeuristic security camera footage from two angles in Owens’ studio, capturing the designer and model/muse Tyrone Dylan Susman navigate the clothes in different styling; Susman on a platform while Owens assessed and reimagined the collection. The behind the scenes footage was intimate and illuminating, a glimpse into a part of the fashion process of which the audience and consumer are not typically invited. 

While Owens may have pressed onward and upward into his latest collection, it was, ironically, an ode to the past. The oversized shoulders from last season were softened and appeared on an open black vest and suit coats, leather mesh tank tops were inspired by a 2012 collection, knits and swimwear derived from 2017’s “Dirt” collection, and the famous Membrane t-shirt from 2018 took shape here with deep, baggy U neckline shirts. Pants were high waisted with low, sagging crotches, mostly shown in black with a surprise foray into yellow plaid and taupe athleisure wear toward the end. Aside from the towering platform boots on Susman, which appeared as thigh-high chaps in some looks, the collection was sleek and relaxed with nods to glam rock and surfer culture. A scaled-back season from Rick Owens, who, for his part, cannot wait to return to the beautiful chaos of live shows. 

Written by Elizabeth Kramsky


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