Backstage Report: Rick Owens Has It Under Control



Five years ago, when the whole world looked like out of something out of Blow Up, Rick Owens introduced tenebrous-chic. This soon earned him the nickname “The Prince of Darkness”—and his neo-Goth lines have since influenced a multitude of fashion houses, from high-end to High Street. Rick Owens doesn’t mind the copycats—he’s in another place. His latest collection, presented this morning in Paris’ 13th arrondissement, is just as somber but less anarchic: kimono-inspired cuts, peacock jackets, and thick wools punctuated the show—less teenage angst, more solemn calm.

We met him backstage after the show in Paris and discussed keeping control amidst fashionable chaos.

ALICE PFEIFFER: Five years ago, you were at the forefront of a neo-Goth movement. Today, lots of other designers have been influenced by that aesthetic. How do you progress and move away from that?

RICK OWENS: When something is in the air, everyone is influenced, so I don’t really think of it like that. But in any case, you move on, you try to develop, grow and stay true to yourself.

PFEIFFER: Have you evolved much since you launched your label?

OWENS: I think so—I actually feel this show is a lot different from what I was doing five years ago, and hopefully in five years’ time I’ll be doing something different too. Again, you never radically change either, there is always a sense of continuation, every collection is an extension of the previous, some things are never going to change, and I will always still be me.

PFEIFFER: So what are you leaving behind, what are you keeping, and what are you introducing in your collection today?

OWENS: There is a lot more control today. Five years ago, I worked with the idea of collapse, downfall, abandon—now I work a lot more with control, which I find a very poignant idea, because one inevitably always fails. So I suppose I’m drawn to a control doomed to collapse.

PFEIFFER: And how do you feel about the collection we just saw ? Happy with the result?

OWENS: Well, I hope this looks like me! I hope it doesn’t look like I tried to do something tricky—because I’m very conscious of being consistent, no matter what else is happening in the world.