Paris Day 4: Rick Owens’ Glamour

Camp is the word of the moment. For the ones who don't know, it is the exaggeration of the aesthetic that “has power to mix high and low, pop culture and art, never being kitsch,” using the words that Alessandro Michele from Gucci used to describe it in Milano during the press conference of the Met’s next huge Costume Institute 2019 exhibition: “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” based on Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay “Notes on Camp.” The powerful Rick Owens’ show had a lot of it, but twisted with his personal unique vision.

Rick Owens Fall/Winter 2019 show in Paris. Photo by Alessandro Garofalo for NOWFASHION.

The collection mixed Larry LeGaspi’s crazy legacy and the couture of Charles James. The former is the mastermind who, in the Seventies, realized the famous black and silver ultra glamorous looks for Labelle and the rock band Kiss. James is the English-American designer universally famous for his highly structured aesthetic and ballgowns. Owens looked to both of them for a terrific collection that embodies what modernity really means today. Everything became even stronger with face modification make-up designed by Salvia, the 18-year-old artist that pushes her body beyond conventions. 

Y/Project Fall/Winter 2019 show in Paris. Photo by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION.

Glamour also pervaded the Y/Project collection where designer Glenn Martens injected his clothes with a ladylike flair that reminded us of Hollywood’s red carpet atmosphere from every different decade. His masterful capacity to build architecture to wear is still its distinctive sign, but his girl is becoming a woman, as the designer himself is growing up, as he said backstage after the show. 

Paco Rabanne Fall/Winter 2019 show in Paris. Photo by Regis Colin Berthelier for NOWFASHION.

Julien Dossena at Paco Rabanne was on the same glamorous page and explored the world of celebrations. The collection was an ensemble of different uniforms. Not strictly military, but from every codified occasion: from red carpets to weddings to rock concerts to dance competitions, etc. Everything has been elevated to the glamour level and all those happening dresses are mixed up and decorated with a profusion of crystals and bijoux. The result was very scenic, but it looked a little bit over-embellished. The inspiration was very interesting and challenging because he mixed so many different decorated worlds; that’s why subtraction instead of adding would have been more effective in the final result. 

Off-White Fall/Winter 2019 show in Paris. Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION.

Virgil Abloh at Off White is trying, season by season, to switch his aesthetic from sportswear to ladylike, entering a territory he is not familiar with, and he does it by picking from different references here and there. As a DJ, which he also is, he uses the sampling method, so even if the result could be aesthetically pleasant, it lacks in originality. But there is an interesting factor in the Virgil Abloh approach: his target is not the fashion connoisseurs (at least not at first) but the youngest generations that buy what they see, not caring if the product is the result of appropriation, creativity, or something else – the thing is cool; I like it, so it’s fine. The good thing for him is that he is probably one of the few people in the system that has the lexicon to explain to the new generation that sneakers are not the only shoes and tracksuits are not the only clothes. He learned the language of the audience that every brand is desperately trying to reach. 

Isabel Marant Fall/Winter 2019 show in Paris. Photo by Alessandro Garofalo for NOWFASHION.

Isabel Marant definitely knows how to get the consumers; her show is always full of joy and beauty. The girls stunningly walk through the catwalk looking like they came straight out of the pages of an 80s Vogue Paris editorial with big rounded shoulders and long slitted leather shirts, paired with high but soft heeled boots. 

Backstage at the Ann Demeulemeester Fall/Winter 2019 show in Paris. Photos by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION.

Ann Demeulemeester was unexpectedly colourful, a strawberry ice cream pink long dress opened the show and then beautiful red, acid yellow, and the signature black. The palette was vibrant and was a beautiful surprise to refresh the well-known dark romantic code of the maison. 

Uma Wang Fall/Winter 2019 show in Paris. Photos by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION.

Also, Uma Wang wanted to create a surprise on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of her fashion house. The destination of her journey is South America, and details from Peru and Incan culture brought the traveller soul of the designer under the spotlight. The idea is a lady that dresses up in whatever she likes that she picks up on the streets she traverses, both visually and physically.