On a day when other designers were creating clothing that restricted the models movements, in some cases they couldn’t even raise their arms to hail a cab, it was wonderful to see real women on the Rick Owens stage. Women who were not just moving but living, breathing- thriving really- in the California designers ensembles.
Calling Owens’s venue a stage and not a catwalk is not a misnomer. This show was a rip-roaring showpiece that just happened to have the performers dressed in the designer’s spring/summer 2014 offerings.
And what performers they were. These were real women, muscular woman, with curves and above all attitude to spare. They came from four different American colleges where Stepping, which is a pumped up- not for the faint of heart- synchronized percussion dance that is very popular in African-American sororities. Stepping is a kissing cousin to cheerleading, but instead of cheers the ladies of Soul Steppers, Momentums, Zetas and Washington Divas served up grunts and “grit faces” usually meant to intimidate the opposing step teams in stepping competitions.
So engrossing were the military precision dance routines, that the collection was something of an afterthought. Other than the osmosis understanding that Owens’s clothing could have a broader, more athletic street appeal. A fact that the shoes he designed with Adidas, sported by all the dancers, has already proved to be true. The industry needs to stop pigeonholing Owen as just a one stop shopping designer for those that are gothically inclined. The draped dresses, samurai leather vests and monochrome tunic tops that used matte and shine fabrics to create definition were just as fierce as the women who wore them.