In a latest interview, actress Carey Mulligan complained about the truth that the characters she performs are sometimes described as “sturdy ladies.” That label, she mentioned, makes it appear as if power in a lady is the exception, not the norm. And it rubs her the incorrect method. It’s not unusual to expertise the same frisson backstage at a style present, when a designer says that his (or her) assortment pays tribute to “sturdy ladies”—the message is at all times effectively meant, however by organising energy as a top quality discovered solely in a selected sort of girl, it demeans the fairer intercourse as an entire. At his newest present, Rick Owens put paid to that mind-set. Owens’ newest coup de théâtre wasn’t a tribute to sturdy ladies; it was a tribute to feminine power. That’s a serious distinction.

Chanteuse Eska, who carried out final yr with Owens’s spouse, Michèle Lamy, on the Meltdown Pageant in London, presided over this night’s proceedings, singing the theme track from the movie Exodus. As she sang, fashions exited in new Rick Owens seems to be—a few of which, just like the sleeveless dusters and crinkled anoraks, registered as atypically accessible silhouettes, whereas others, such because the brief clothes collaged from canvas and leather-based, reiterated Owens’s signature sculptularity in a brand new, nearly dreamlike tone. Periodically, the défilé was interrupted by an unimaginable sight: a girl, dressed by Owens, carrying one other lady down the lengthy size of the runway. Their our bodies have been yoked collectively; generally the ladies being carried hung the other way up, legs slung over their companions’ shoulders. Different ladies have been strapped on like backpacks.

Talking earlier than the present, Owens mentioned he’d been considering—questioning, actually—in regards to the methods ladies nurture others, metaphorically taking over one other human being’s weight. That inquiry was communicated forcefully by the present’s staging. The carrying ladies, with their human freight, additionally instructed the bodily labors of being pregnant—an undercurrent amplified by the Owens silhouettes that includes distended volumes that had been virtually carbuncular. When the final mannequin crossed the catwalk, sporting a brief costume and a kind of terrifically business crinkled anoraks, she seemed sublimely unburdened—till you famous the straps crisscrossing the jacket in again. Even probably the most sylph-like, seemingly footloose and fancy-free girl is ready, at any second, to shoulder a weight. That, at any fee, gave the impression to be Owens’s message in making these load-bearing straps his present’s closing picture. All ladies are robust. Even those who don’t understand it but.

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