Rick Owens Menswear Fall Winter 2013 Paris

The start of the Rick Owens’ show began with a bit of a delay because of a technical problem. The hold up had the audience wondering what sort of pyrotechnics Owens had in store this time. After all, this is a designer who had previously presented shows using a wall of fire as a backdrop or enveloped his catwalk in a flowing fog.

But when the thorac throbbing base beat began to thump it was an oversized lightbox that spanned the width of the catwalk that lit up the runway. It slowly slid from an overhead position to glide down the back wall and rest on the floor. It made a rather understated setting for a collection that was equally held back.

All of the hallmark Owens elements were on display in this collection; the monotone shades of black, white and gray, the bulky fur boots with tire tread-like soles, the slim leather pants and scoop neck tank tops all showed up at one stage or another.  But it was with the outerwear that the designer tried to push himself, if ever so slightly.

It was there on the slightly Asian inspired flat and wrap front coats, sometimes held to the body with a broad obi-esque band of fabric and puffy jackets that brought to mind chic sleeping bags when styled with a nylon shrug, that Owens gave this discreet show an injection of some stealth luxe. The seemingly simple biker jacket was cut in shaved mink. The white on white nylon coat came outfitted with sections of shearling in different lengths to create a textural tension. And a funnel sleeved wool cover up was bonded to buttery leather at the shoulders.

This collection illustrated a Rick Owens in repose. A designer downshifting to let his collection coast on the minimalist cool fuel that has powered this brand for almost twenty years.

- Jessica Michault