Since the pandemic ended IRL fashion shows, Rick Owens’ live performances on Venice Lido have offered a raw, cinematic respite from the doldrums of digital fashion weeks. A sign of the changing times, however, his SS22 collection is set to be the last he presents on the Italian island he inhabits for half the year, before returning to the French capital for his women’s fashion show in September.
After brooding collections named after rivers of boiling blood and the Garden of Gethsamane – where Jesus spent his last night before his crucifixion – he bade farewell to the floating city on a lighter and brighter note. Located on the beach just in front of the Excelsior hotel, Rick gave us Fogachine, a work that suggests the lightness, the enigma and the quiet hope of a rising mist.
Make no mistake, the assured glam-rock sex that Rick has long made out of the currency he trades was also in abundance there. Webbed white vests clung to the chest, skirting the nipples and plunging below the navel; the linebacker shoulder seam that has recurred in recent seasons has returned as sleeveless blazers with gaping armholes; and this season’s cropped leather jackets were crafted from pirarucu dragon scale leather, a food byproduct produced by indigenous communities in Brazil.
This expected hedonistic spirit was however tempered by an almost floral sensibility. “The hippies of the white magic houses of the sacred stairway to the sky carry flares on the platforms,” as Rick himself wrote in the show’s notes, their hems soaking up in water. salty and sandy as the mannequins walked along the shore. This carelessness was reflected in shirts and jackets of gauzy rags and organdy, and even a hand-tied knot. cock feather jacket, created in collaboration with Maison February, Joséphine Baker’s former plumassier.
Pieces like these floated like fog rising in a breeze – which literally showed up, thanks to the non-toxic portable fog machines that tucked into the side pockets of this season’s mid-calf platform boots. Rather than a concerted attempt to carry the banner of post-pandemic optimism, what we saw here was more of reminding us of the need for humility as life begins to look more like it once was.
“With a post-COVID [life] in sight, there could be a frustrated sense of appetite demanding to be doubly satisfied this summer, which could lead to a voracity forgetting the humiliating experience we just had together, ”writes the designer. “This collection embraces hedonism but in a sweet and grateful way,” a way that celebrates the return of life, while acknowledging the lessons we all claim to have learned.
In Rick’s case, that means scrutinizing the ecological responsibility of his practice. This season the selvedge denims are custom woven by Yamaashi Orimono in Japan, the jerseys are woven from GOTS certified cottons, the shirts and pants are in a biodegradable cupro, and then there are the leathers derived from the food waste mentioned. previously. Of course, a crucial element in any conversation about sustainability in fashion is recognizing that this is an ongoing journey of personal and collective improvement, rather than a checkbox exercise for its own good – a fact Rick readily concedes – I still have some way to go in our sustainability efforts, but we can all aim higher and start somewhere, ”he notes. Yet for all the work that remains to be done, its philosophy is admirable – there is reason to hope that when the fog clears it will give way to a clear blue sky.