[April 24 2021] : Magazine
interview and portraits by OLIVIER ZAHM
photography by ALEX ANTITICH
Who could have imagined, when the young Rick Owens created his first collection in 1994 in Los Angeles that he would become, more than 20 years later, one of the most acclaimed, persistent, rigorous, and radical fashion designers, incarnating brutal chic, fearless sexuality, and gender fluidity, as well as extreme innovation in forms, contrasts, and fabrics?
Living in Paris for the past 13 years, Rick Owens continues to surprise fashion fans. Step-by-step, from show to show, he’s expanded his supporters from rebellious anti-fashion kids to elegant European women looking for allure and distinction. He never repeats himself and has never compromised along his dark, mysterious path. Reticent but openminded and kind, he avoids the media. He is especially supportive of young artists and designers, such as Gareth Pugh.
His longevity, creativity, clairvoyance, and honesty are a radical exception in fashion today… And now, with his wife Michèle, he’s added his imprint to the design world with a line of furniture that challenges functionality with a totemic aura and striking sculptural impact.
OLIVIER ZAHM — So, Rick, you were saying…
RICK OWENS — I’ve been talking a lot about ecology in the past couple of seasons, not because I know what I’m talking about ecologically, although I think it’s a good idea. What I like are the intentions, but the problem is that the fundamental human urge is to procreate.
OLIVIER ZAHM — Which goes with pollution and consumption?
RICK OWENS — Well, yes, and the urge to live forever: procreation and to live forever. We all have these urges. People have more babies. They live longer. The world is becoming more crowded and using up its resources. So we have to genetically modify resources to extend them. Maybe all this reaches a kind of climax, and something else happens. My train of thought was that maybe [there’s] a transition, with the idea of accepting it gracefully, and figuring out how to make the transition as elegant and graceful as possible, instead of feeling dread, panic, and hysteria…
OLIVIER ZAHM — And not having too radical or violent a transition?
RICK OWENS — Yeah. But that’s a very fatalistic attitude, and that’s not that healthy, either. I don’t mean to make any kind of strident opinion because I’m not good at strident opinions....
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