Purple Magazine
— S/S 2015 issue 23

Rick Owens and Hood By Air

Portrait by Olivier Zahm

interview and portrait by OLIVIER ZAHM
photography by MARTIEN MULDER


We knew that Shayne Oliver, designer of Hood By Air, was a fan of the radical American fashion designer, Rick Owens. We didn’t know that the admiration was reciprocal. In this, their first dialogue, they discover shared interests — music, dance, sex, and transgender culture — and talk about what they have in common, one generation apart.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Had you two met before in Paris or New York?
RICK OWENS — Yes. In Paris, because I never go to New York.
SHAYNE OLIVER — We met at Pierre Rougier’s place, when he had that little cocktail party.
RICK OWENS — Oh right. Because you’re 26, so I never would have known you in New York.

OLIVIER ZAHM — You don’t go to New York anymore?
RICK OWENS — I never go to New York, and the only time that I ever really enjoyed New York, or was really a part of it, was in the ’80s. We would go to Sally’s Hideaway in Times Square. That was before your time. Sally’s Hideaway closed before you were born, probably. Have you ever heard of it?
SHAYNE OLIVER — No. Actually, what is it?

OLIVIER ZAHM — I never heard about it.
RICK OWENS — You know the Gaiety, right? Because that’s still there, but Sally’s Hideaway was right around there somewhere. There’s actually a website devoted to the memory of Sally’s Hideaway. It was kind of an after-hours tranny bar, and it was, it was, it was … raw! It was incredible. It was trannies, their admirers, and their clients.
SHAYNE OLIVER — Oh, that’s a good mix.
RICK OWENS — And it was open after all the other bars closed. You have to go online and see who was there. I don’t know why I brought that up. You remind me of that. I just felt that you would have enjoyed it because that’s the old New York.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Is there a place or a club that you like in Paris now?
RICK OWENS — We were talking about one. What is it called?
SHAYNE OLIVER — Yeah. SunCity [on Boulevard Sébastopol]. Then there’s the Sauna. And there’s the Cud [in the Marais], which is really fun. It’s cheesy on top and then, when you go downstairs, it’s a cave, and they just play kind of like bad remixes of all the pop hits. The music you want to drink to, basically.
RICK OWENS — And I heard there’s a good sound system and fog.

OLIVIER ZAHM — You’re both very connected to the music world or to a certain kind of music, which is not pop, but you’re connected to hip-hop.
RICK OWENS — Do we still call it hip-hop?
SHAYNE OLIVER — Well, it should be called something else. I feel like its forming; it’s becoming something weird.
RICK OWENS — I liked trap. I thought that made sense.
SHAYNE OLIVER — Yeah, trap is good.

RICK OWENS — Techno going into rap. It just made so much sense. That’s, like, the logical progression of what rap should be. But you know who I’ve been listening to now: Lady. Do you know Lady?
SHAYNE OLIVER — Oh yes, she’s so good!
RICK OWENS — Lady is… And I mean it’s old. It’s not like she’s new. It’s not that, I mean, it’s two years old. I gotta find it, where the fuck is it? [Plays song.] And then my favorite song of hers is, “He’ll be workin’ that clit, workin’ that clit. Work workin’ that clit.” I’m going to turn it off now.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Rick, the music you choose for your shows is more abstract or minimal, no?
RICK OWENS — I do a lot of minimal and, with a friend of mine, we do all the remixing. So it’s like I’ve been through every note of that music, changing it and tweaking it.
SHAYNE OLIVER — That’s cool. I don’t know if it was a men’s show, but you were playing, like, Chicago’s Juke Ellington.
RICK OWENS — Dominator. Oh, I know which one!
SHAYNE OLIVER — I was like, okay! That in Paris is a really good look. We, like, DJ that stuff a lot, too.
RICK OWENS — RP Boo. It was RP Boo, and then the next one I did, JayLin and I commissioned them to do those mixes for me. JayLin came here, and that was amazing. That was futuristic music.

A white tulle tunic with gray waxed cotton shorts RICK OWENS

OLIVIER ZAHM — On both the creative and consuming side, the music community is really into the way you both dress men and women.
RICK OWENS — Why is that?
SHAYNE OLIVER — I don’t know! I think you’re a rock star. I think it’s a rock star quality thing. For me, I feel like I envy musicians so much.
RICK OWENS — But music is very much in what you do. It’s very connected.
SHAYNE OLIVER — Yeah, I started DJing.
RICK OWENS — You’re not doing preppie.

OLIVIER ZAHM — One day, maybe!
SHAYNE OLIVER — Well, maybe! No. Well, maybe golf punk but… I mean it’s just how I grew up. I grew up communicating with people through music, so it’s part of what generates emotion for me, like it can change my mood. I don’t know. It’s personal like that. But I do envy musicians, and so I think I try to be a musician in a weird way. Sometimes I want to, like, tour, and have that lifestyle.
RICK OWENS — But it’s a very gay culture in a way, the way you’re looking at music, isn’t it?
SHAYNE OLIVER — It is. I come from the clubs and…
RICK OWENS — Oh! You have to teach me how to do a death drop.
SHAYNE OLIVER — I can do that.
RICK OWENS — Can you really?

OLIVIER ZAHM — What is a death drop?
RICK OWENS — It’s where you kind of turn around and then fall backward and land with one leg up and the other one back, and then you pick yourself back up. But the thing is, you actually have to take a leap of faith and fall into it. I can’t do it.
SHAYNE OLIVER — You know, it’s like practicing a new muscle. It’s going to hurt.
RICK OWENS — Because it’s the leg-underneath-you thing.
SHAYNE OLIVER — Yeah, it hurts for the first, like, two weeks, and then you’re okay; then you can do anything.
RICK OWENS — Okay, imagine a 52-year-old man in a hotel room, watching…
SHAYNE OLIVER — Did you try it already?
RICK OWENS — For like a week, I was working on it! And I was thinking, I’m fit, I can do this. I’m not afraid of a little pain, and I had Feminine Destruction on YouTube. She does it really great, so I was like, “I can just do it really slow, break it down, and figure it out, right?” And I just couldn’t do it, because there was this point where there’s no logic to it; you just have to throw yourself into it and hope for the best.
SHAYNE OLIVER — You actually have to injure yourself.
RICK OWENS — And they’re chunky, these girls, some of them. And the bravery of it, it’s an adrenaline thing. It’s like throwing yourself off a cliff and your hair flips up, and then you jump back up. And the jumping back up, I don’t know how they do that. Show us how you do it.
SHAYNE OLIVER — Do you want to see one? Should I do it here?

OLIVIER ZAHM — Don’t kill yourself!
SHAYNE OLIVER — I do it all the time. So, hold on. [Performs a death drop]
RICK OWENS — Oh! Isn’t that gorgeous? I think that’s the invention of the century! That is the invention of our generation. I hope I didn’t push you into that!
SHAYNE OLIVER — Oh no, trust me, I do that five times in a row. But you see, it’s easy after you break.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Shayne, when you started your brand, did you know about Rick’s work?
SHAYNE OLIVER — Yeah, for sure. I remember seeing images of the thing you did at Pitti in Florence. I saw that.
RICK OWENS — Did you see the book that I did with me peeing in my mouth?
RICK OWENS — But it was like the statue peeing actually.
SHAYNE OLIVER — Yes, which was great. When I saw that, I was like, this person knows.
RICK OWENS — Piss is an eye-catcher! [Laughs]
SHAYNE OLIVER — So immediately I was drawn to that. How long have you been sold at Atelier [ed. note: an avant-garde boutique in New York]?
RICK OWENS — For a long time.
SHAYNE OLIVER — I would go to Atelier. I would go in the shop, and I would see stuff and then, you know, people would educate me on, I guess, the similarities of being American and blah, blah, those sorts of things. And yeah, that’s when I became familiar with your work.
RICK OWENS — So you knew what you were doing. You found Atelier.
SHAYNE OLIVER — Oh yeah. I guess being an only child, I’m very curious.
RICK OWENS — You have to learn how to amuse yourself. I’m an only child, too.

RICK OWENS — Yeah, and I think that’s a big part of it.
SHAYNE OLIVER — You look, you search, you go out, you navigate. That’s how I found all the shops in New York and how I got into just, like, everything to be honest.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Rick’s style and vision of fashion is so unique and extraordinarily free. You bring not only fresh air, but a sort of radical easiness, too, which is really relevant today.
RICK OWENS — I wish. I never think I push myself far enough.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Your work, Rick, even though you moved to Paris, has a big echo in America.
RICK OWENS — Yeah, but the thing is when I look at New York, I wonder: where are the Calvins? Where are the Donna Karans? When I look there, I don’t really see the logical progression of that. I mean, I think what Shayne is doing is logical; that’s what clothes should be now. They shouldn’t be rehashed ’70s clothes. They should be modern. And that’s why your moment is so great: you kind of own that newness.

OLIVIER ZAHM — It’s a big responsibility! It’s on your shoulders!
RICK OWENS — Don’t fuck it up!
SHAYNE OLIVER — No, I won’t, I won’t, I won’t!
RICK OWENS — He won’t. Of course he won’t. No, but also, if I can give any advice to anybody, if I could be so pompous: one thing that I had to learn that took me a while was not to feel responsible. Don’t feel any responsibility; just do whatever the fuck you want, and that’s what’s going to be true. Because there was a minute when I felt responsible, and I was paying attention to what people were doing and thought, “How do I maintain this momentum?” That was a mistake. You really have to listen to your own gut: “What do I really think is cool, and what do I really like?” That’s what I should do. There’s a minute where it’s not that easy. There are a lot of voices.

Black leather top and pants HOOD BY AIR with vintage boots HELMUT LANG

OLIVIER ZAHM — Especially when, suddenly, there’s a spotlight on your name and on your collection.
RICK OWENS — Especially when you’re the guest at Pitti. He’s going to be in Pitti, which is, of course, a big sign of arrival.
SHAYNE OLIVER — Yeah, thanks! I just want to do something fun. Let’s hope that venue allows it! Florence is old. But I feel like I can do whatever I want to do.
RICK OWENS — You really can, and they’re going to encourage you. They’re very open to extreme.
SHAYNE OLIVER — Right, they were encouraging me to do whatever. I don’t want to go there and be like, “Oh, this is so nice. I should do something nice.”
RICK OWENS — They’re very intellectual and artsy, and you’re going to have to rise to that. You’re not going to feel like you’re with your grandma.

OLIVIER ZAHM — By the time you’ve done it, this issue will already be out.
SHAYNE OLIVER — Yeah. It will be cold. I wish it was the summer one.
RICK OWENS — What about your production? You’re producing at the same time in New York?
RICK OWENS — So you’re trying to do everything all at once.
SHAYNE OLIVER — Yeah, it’s a crazy moment. I’m actually having to be a businessperson, which is so weird. It’s just about managing it so that it doesn’t get out of control for us. But it is growing rather fast.

OLIVIER ZAHM — How do you both feel about the difference between America and Europe. How does it feel to be in Paris, Rick? You’re almost a Parisian after 10 years!
RICK OWENS — It’s 12 now, and I never learned French. I’m really in a little bubble, so I’m not much of a Parisian. I’m just an alien. A resident alien.

OLIVIER ZAHM— A resident alien!
RICK OWENS — Yeah, I love that phrase.
SHAYNE OLIVER — That’s what I like about Paris, too, in a way, because I don’t know anyone here, and I’m not connected to anything. I can be crazy and free.
RICK OWENS — Like SunCity. Nobody’s going to know you at SunCity.
SHAYNE OLIVER — Basically.
RICK OWENS — In your new pursuit of your new fetish, which is…
SHAYNE OLIVER — F-to-m. Female-to-male. I’m getting into that. I think that they’re alluring.
RICK OWENS — Who are interested in males?
SHAYNE OLIVER — Yes. So basically they’re women that become men to become gay men.
RICK OWENS — That’s a journey.
SHAYNE OLIVER — That person is composed and poised! No, it’s very particular.

OLIVIER ZAHM — I want to come back to fashion. How do you both see Paris fashion and the world of fashion in general? Do you feel comfortable in this environment or not?
SHAYNE OLIVER — I’m not from Paris so I don’t see it. It’s not part of my system, so I’m kind of performing in front of a crowd.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Like a musician.
SHAYNE OLIVER — Right, basically. So I’m here, and I’m on tour looking for all the groupies. [Laughs]
RICK OWENS — But wait, you must have groupies.
SHAYNE OLIVERr — I’m starting to, which is weird.
RICK OWENS — Are you taking advantage of that?
SHAYNE OLIVER — Not yet. Actually, I don’t have enough clout in my own company yet, in the sense that I don’t have good accommodations. I have shitty hotel rooms, so I can’t bring anyone to these hotels. They’re really bad.

OLIVIER ZAHM — It will change soon…
SHAYNE OLIVER — Next season! This time we stayed at a house, and everybody was raging there, and we almost got kicked out because everybody was being so wild, so we’re like very unstable in Paris. We get a place here every time. We usually go on Airbnb and get a little apartment, and we always almost get kicked out… Did you meet Hakeem?
RICK OWENS — I don’t remember.
shayne oliver — A wild queen who always gets us almost kicked out. He’s gone to the hospital every time he’s been in Paris. Something sexual. Not an infection, but a sexual injury. He broke his dick twice in Paris. This time he blew his back out; he lost the keys to the place. We had two copies; he lost both.
RICK OWENS — How do you break your dick? I mean, I know, I can imagine.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Like fucking too hard?
RICK OWENS — I guess if you bend it wrong.
SHAYNE OLIVER — I couldn’t. But it happened. And he was bleeding all over this, it was some French actress that I can’t remember her name, but she had a place on Airbnb, and he bled all over her carpet.
RICK OWENS — Try to remember her name because that would be good.

OLIVIER ZAHM — What are some of your influences, Shayne?
RICK OWENS — You were never looking through old 1940s Vogues and thinking of Dior and all of that stuff, were you?
SHAYNE OLIVER — Well, I grew up in the TV moment, where it was, like, fashion television, so this happened, and I was looking at Karl Lagerfeld. I would see that, and it would lead me to investigate, as an only kid would.
RICK OWENS — Are you friends with him yet?
SHAYNE OLIVER — Well, we kind of met through the LVMH prize thing, and he was super sweet.

OLIVIER ZAHM — He was supporting you, he told me. I was with him an hour ago, and I told him I had to leave to see you guys — “Sorry Karl, I have to go!” — And he said, “I love this guy. I pushed him, and they cut me,” because you didn’t get the prize, right?
SHAYNE OLIVER — I won a special prize. Isn’t that so fucked? No, no. [Laughs] They gave me the menswear special prize.

OLIVIER ZAHM — But Karl was really pushing for you.
SHAYNE OLIVER — Yeah, he and Phoebe were huge. I think Phoebe’s used to hanging out with dudes, so she connected to that thing. She’s a tomboy, so she kind of was into that. And Karl was actually really funny. He told me to get up and walk around the room in my outfit. He was like, you wear your clothes the best. You should walk around in your clothes. So I didn’t walk the room, but I just stood up and I was like…
RICK OWENS — You should have given him a fucking death drop!
SHAYNE OLIVER — Can you imagine! [Laughs]
RICK OWENS — You would have gotten press for fucking sure!
SHAYNE OLIVER — I know! See, I wasn’t in that mindset at the moment. I had Pierre Rougier behind me. He was being like a father figure. Like what’s up, do good, and so I wasn’t thinking like that.

A gray waxed cotton coat over a tulle tunic and shorts RICK OWENS

OLIVIER ZAHM — So, Rick, you don’t miss America? You don’t miss New York and Los Angeles?
RICK OWENS — Oh, I think I do a little bit, but I’m just so busy. I do watch old sitcoms and stuff.
SHAYNE OLIVER — Which ones?
RICK OWENS — The last one I watched was with Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback. It was very LA, about LA actresses being really fake. It’s kind of funny. There is an Americanness that sometimes I do miss. But it’s there, and it will be there when I get back.
SHAYNE OLIVER — It’s continuing. I’m a sitcom person, too. I like old ones that I never got to see. I watch Ellen and Scrubs.
RICK OWENS — Was Scrubs before your time?
SHAYNE OLIVER — It was when I was maybe 10. I couldn’t get into it, but now, looking back, I think they are so good.

OLIVIER ZAHM — So American designers watch sitcoms! They don’t watch 1970s movies?
RICK OWENS — Yeah, they take themselves too seriously. But I think you’re watching it in a different way. I think you’re watching it in a twisted way because I know that kind of sitcom life. It’s weird; it’s perverse. My generation learned all of the lines to Mommie Dearest with Faye Dunaway. Your generation does sitcoms, I think.
SHAYNE OLIVER — Yeah, we do. Like Friends and all this sort of thing. That is where I get my humor for sure.
RICK OWENS — But it’s almost, like, not a sardonic humor, but a weird humor. I mean, you’re not taking it; you’re not laughing at it the way the writers intended you to, I don’t think.
SHAYNE OLIVER — Yeah, not at all. I mean, we have a way of making everything gay. Even if it’s not meant to be.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Did you go to the last Jean Paul Gaultier show?
RICK OWENS — Yeah, I went. He’s always been very friendly, and I love honoring people. I think he is an aesthetic icon of our generation. And we might not understand some of the things he’s doing now, but he’s responsible for so much stuff.
SHAYNE OLIVER — He’s done everything. I guess looking at it this way, I think he looked at American things and then made them very, I don’t know, Parisian — not Parisian, but just fashion. He’s done so much; it’s crazy. I look at things, and I’m, like, “That is Gaultier.”

OLIVIER ZAHM — I don’t think he knows how important he is. He’s been quite isolated in the past years.
SHAYNE OLIVER — I would say that. I think he’s been isolated. I don’t know who is his team.
OLIVIER ZAHM — Jean Paul Gaultier has his friends and his fans, but I’m not sure he got enough support. But he’s still here with couture. He will go on, and you never know what will happen. But it was great to see him there.
RICK OWENS — Pierre Cardin was there. I see Pierre Cardin all the time because he goes to the café at the corner. I was telling Michèle, like I go, “Oh my god, I think that’s Pierre Cardin.” And he comes over and introduces himself. He said hello, and I almost fainted.
SHAYNE OLIVER — That’s amazing!
RICK OWENS — Pierre Cardin, how much more French can you get? I mean, Pierre Cardin knows I exist? That was incredible. I was thrilled, anyhow. That was one of the most glamorous things that ever happened to me.
SHAYNE OLIVER — Yeah, that’s pretty good, for sure.

OLIVIER ZAHM — He still has a beautiful shop on Rue de Rivoli, no Rue de Faubourg Saint-Honoré, where you can do semi-couture.
RICK OWENS — I never knew if it was really open or not. I mean I kind of drive by, and I see the windows.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Stop by one day because you’ll see that the Cardin shop is the same. It’s beautiful. They still have the original dresses, and you can have one made for you in the atelier upstairs. So it’s quite old-fashioned. It’s quite expensive, too, but it’s not ready-to-wear.
SHAYNE OLIVER — Why do young girls not like that? I don’t understand why they don’t like that.
RICK OWENS — Because we’re all too fast now. Who has time for fittings?
SHAYNE OLIVER — Well, nobody has time for that, of course.
RICK OWENS — And also, no one’s patient enough. It takes patience.

OLIVIER ZAHM — There’s a link between you two and Pierre Cardin in a way: this radicality of doing a uniform.
RICK OWENS — Oh right, uniforms.

OLIVIER ZAHM — And working with monochrome, trying to find a new silhouette. Being consistent, pushing it. Not compromising. And then Pierre Cardin became a commercial empire, but he always had this vision.
RICK OWENS — What are you going to do with your first million, Shayne?
SHAYNE OLIVER — I don’t know. I haven’t started ballin’ yet. Maybe when I start feeling it is when I will understand what I would do with, like, money. I’d like my team to be comfortable. I’d like all my friends to be really happy.
RICK OWENS — How many people are here with you, actually? How many people do you need to bring?
SHAYNE OLIVER — Ian, Lila, Hakeem, who else was here? Paul. Philip is here. Peggy was here.
RICK OWENS — So you have an entourage.
SHAYNE OLIVER — My good friend Peggy is the entertainment chick.

OLIVIER ZAHM — These are the people who are in Paris with you? What about in New York?
SHAYNE OLIVER — Well those are the core people I work with in general, as well as a graphics person. Romina, Emily, some interns. It’s really small. It’s probably like 10, maximum.

OLIVIER ZAHM — But you keep a really small team very close.
SHAYNE OLIVER — I mean, it’s healthy. That’s the only way I like it. I kind of like to keep everything a secret, even in the company. I guess I need to let it go soon, right?
RICK OWENS — You can keep secrets.
SHAYNE OLIVER — I like to keep them even from the team. I’m just like, you can’t know this thing about the collection. It just feels better. It feels likeit’s good when the team is excited more than anyone else when the idea comes across.
RICK OWENS — Even my CEO and Michèle don’t see the collection until the day before it goes out.
SHAYNE OLIVER — Did you have to do that after awhile?
RICK OWENS — No, that’s kind of how it always was, and that’s what feels good. Because otherwise, if Michèle even raised an eyebrow, it would distract me.
SHAYNE OLIVER — You would scrap the whole thing.
RICK OWENS — I would just question myself.

A gray wool harness strap jacket HOOD BY AIR with tights FOGAL

OLIVIER ZAHM — It’s better to keep it intimate.
RICK OWENS — No, solitary. So that I can really try and make it as pure as possible, and then afterwards it doesn’t matter.
SHAYNE OLIVER — Sometimes you’re working on an idea, and you haven’t figured it out yet. I hate to prematurely give someone an idea. It just feels negative. It feels like there’s no hope. I’d rather understand the idea first and then reveal it. It’s also exciting that way. It’s fun.
RICK OWENS — And then it’s all yours, too. Completely yours.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Rick, of course, has men’s and women’s collections, but also furniture. He’s created a whole aesthetic around his world — the shop, the design of the boutique. Everything makes sense, and everything is connected, even your own body, even your own home. Shayne, do you think you can achieve this kind of unified world?
SHAYNE OLIVER — Yeah, I think it’s natural, just based on the thought process, how the ideas come along and, like, how I live the ideas. I don’t know if it’s furniture, but I do know that it can be objects, it can be sounds.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Maybe your work is also connected to sexuality, no?
SHAYNE OLIVER — [Laughs] Yeah.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Maybe more than Rick’s.
RICK OWENS — Mine is maybe the rejection of sex!
SHAYNE OLIVER — You think!? I don’t know.
RICK OWENS — No, there’s sex there, but it’s in a different way.
SHAYNE OLIVER — I’ve never been in a relationship, ever. So I don’t have these sort of comfort attachments, and I feel like my energy goes into everyone, loving everyone, whether it be communicative or sexual. I’m not a sexual extremist. I’m more of a sexual deviant. I like to fuck — basically I’m horny [Laughs]
RICK OWENS — There was a famous department store that kind of did a big campaign with transgenders and stuff, and it felt a little false to me, but there’s this feeling that people want to celebrate that a little bit, and you are the genuine thing. With that sexuality, all different sexualities are combined. And also, in your world, there’s an opportunity to change your mind. You can do anything you want; all options are open. I think that’s what was a little self-congratulatory about this department store thing.

OLIVIER ZAHM — I don’t know this shop.
RICK OWENS — That was last year, I think. And actually I thought of you during that because they’re making a hype thing out of it, and you guys are doing the real thing — about tolerance.

OLIVIER ZAHM — But let’s start at the beginning, with Vivienne Westwood and the sex boutique.
RICK OWENS — Right, right.
SHAYNE OLIVER — I think Vivienne was aggressive, no?
RICK OWENS — It was angry. It wasn’t about inclusion and tolerance; it was about “We hate you.”
SHAYNE OLIVER — I think now I’m more about fluidity of identity. Like, you can assign any role to anyone, really. That’s just like growing up in New York and seeing everyone, literally, and growing up with trannies, and trannies dressing businessmen up as trannies.
RICK OWENS — And self-invention. Which is fantastic.
SHAYNE OLIVER — And because it’s so sexual, that definitely references the things Vivienne did.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Why do you see Vivienne as aggressive? She’s too strictly heterosexual?
SHAYNE OLIVER — I think it was hetero finding homo interesting.
RICK OWENS — I think it was confrontational. Provocative in a hostile way, from my perspective. Maybe I’m interpreting it wrong.

A white tulle coat with brown and black geometric shapes over a black cotton top and waxed cotton shorts RICK OWENS with vintage boots from RESURRECTION

OLIVIER ZAHM — In the context of the British?
RICK OWENS — Of the politics at the time? That’s what it was about.
SHAYNE OLIVER — And using homosexuality as a tool to push people to get angry or be offended. I mean, having a t-shirt that has a man fisting another man. At that time, I’m sure it was meant to aggravate.

OLIVIER ZAHM — I was just mentioning it because it was in the punk period, and one of the first explicit connections between sexuality and fashion.
RICK OWENS — I was thinking about the miniskirts and that being such an amazing reaction to what’s happening in society. And that women would have been empowered, and showing that they were available to have sex on their own terms with the pill. But, you know, now I think the miniskirt is over. Miniskirts kinda bug me. They’re my bête noire.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Which brings us back to Gaultier. Did he do the first skirt for men?
RICK OWENS — I think Pierre Cardin did.
SHAYNE OLIVER — Oh really?
RICK OWENS — And then Rudi Gernreich did. Every designer that wants to push things has done that.
SHAYNE OLIVER — Yeah, for sure.
RICK OWENS — But in their own way. But I know that Rudi Gernreich did, but they were more like miniskirts; it was like a space uniform. They had shaved heads; everything was shaved, and they had like a little miniskirt. It was gorgeous. You should do that. You have a shaved head.
SHAYNE OLIVER — I know, I should get into that look.
RICK OWENS — It was a little double-knit miniskirt worn barefoot, and it was kind of a space, Aztec-slave look.
RICK OWENS — It was really cool. It was both sexes — what do you call it, not bisexual, uh, unisex!
SHAYNE OLIVER — Ugh. I hate that term so much.

OLIVIER ZAHM — But there’s no right word for this combination. For this transgending…
SHAYNE OLIVER — I think unisex tries to draw the sexuality out of things, making it nonsexual and not sexy. And I hate that so much. We were talking about sapiosexual, when the mind of the person is what you’re attracted to the most, or that’s what turns you on. I mean that’s what we’re thinking that it is. This is a thing: we live it; we don’t know what it’s called yet. We’re just kind of figuring it out. Sapiosexual is what we’ve found in, I guess, Freudian theory, which helps to figure it out. How does this person operate up here, and what does this mean for the rest of their body?

A navy wool jacket and pants with silver detailing HOOD BY AIR with a white top WOLFORD and vintage boots HELMUT LANG

OLIVIER ZAHM — But actually your fashion, Rick, is so very sexual. Even though you don’t show anything. We don’t see any part of the body really. There’s something extremely fetishist in your fashion.
RICK OWENS — Well, everything has to be. Clothing just has to be.
SHAYNE OLIVER — I think the eroticism is the confidence. Like, Rick’s work is not macho; it’s confident, and it’s sexy because of that.
RICK OWENS — I like fetishes. I like the idea of them. I don’t think I have any, personally, but I’m fascinated with fetishes. I love the ceremony of it.
SHAYNE OLIVER — I totally agree with that. Getting ready. It’s a ceremony. It is very cool to see people get into their fetish and prepare.
RICK OWENS — And just the simple thing of an average woman deciding, “I’m putting on red lipstick now.” That’s such an amazing thing. Because it’s such an abstract, bizarre thing to do. Like, put this red thing on your lips? It’s not only about sex. It’s also about neatness and punctuation, and it’s about polish and refinement.
SHAYNE OLIVER — That woman has her shit together because she has on a red lip, basically.
RICK OWENS — Yeah, but it’s true. And it doesn’t have to be about sex. A very respectable woman can at one time, one hour, or one point in the day put on her lipstick, and things change.
SHAYNE OLIVER — It’s about authority.
RICK OWENS — Yeah, lipstick is an amazing thing.

OLIVIER ZAHM — But it’s also about the secret. What’s erotic in your fashion is it keeps things secret. It’s never obvious. And when you were speaking about keeping things secret, I think that’s important because everything is so visible today.
RICK OWENS — I have to go because Michèle is waiting for me, but I think we got everything right? We got a death drop. We got SunCity. We got fist-fucking…



Jay Massacret, style — Kirsten Owen @ ONE MANAGEMENT, model — Marki Shkreli @ TIM HOWARD MANAGEMENT, hair — Benjamin Puckey @ D + V MANAGEMENT, make-up — Derek Amengual, digital technician — Philipp Haemmerle, prop stylist — Natasha Stanglmayr, producer — Frank Muller and Isabella Bejarano, photographer’s assistants — Olivia Kozlowski and Anastasia Walker, stylist’s assistants

[Table of contents]

S/S 2015 issue 23

Table of contents

purple EDITO

purple NEWS






purple BEAUTY

purple LOVE

purple TRAVEL

purple SEX


purple TRAVEL

purple NIGHT

purple STORY


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