At the heart of the Rick Owens fall/winter 2014 menswear show was the idea of protection. Protection build from being part of a group with its own distinctive dress codes and sartorial rules. Protection in the way the cut and weight of a garment can shield the wearer from the world. And protection seen through one of its most literal interpretations -bullet proof and tactical vests.
In this show Owens enveloped his model’s bodies in thick tunic tops and stiff leather jackets that he paired with super wide city shorts and wader high boots, often leaving just bare arms exposed to the elements. He created an army of street savvy warrior’s whose mission in life took a positive or negative slant depending on how the show’s headgear was interpreted. Gangster do-rag or religious headscarf. What emotion were they intended to evoke in the audience? Or was their uncertain origins exactly the point.
As if to undermined the threatening undercurrent of his outfits the designer also offered an alternative silhouette. Oversized leather or cashmere onesies cut with a zipper curving over the rump- nothing deflates the masculinity of a garment faster then a trap door to the derrière. His choice to cut his protective police vests in glossy satin and the addition of stiff satin scarves tied with artistic flourish around the neck were other ways Owens was able to deflect and soften his defensive ensembles.
But what you walked away with from this show wasn’t a feeling of being deflected or put off of the outfits. With his endearing touches Owen actually built a desire in his audience to try and find a way past all the protection and connect with the man within.