Rick Owens' aesthetic has always been 'an American's interpretation of European glamour'. This was highlighted in his unusual choice of models at his Spring/Summer 2014 show: American step dancers from four college step teams conquering a Parisian runway.
A collective spirit surrounded the Palais Omnisports de Paris Bercy as the dancers came down giant metal staircases, stomping and clapping in unison. These were real woman: big, curvy and strong, making 'grit faces' (usually done to intimidate opponents) saluting the show title 'Vicious' – a far cry from conventional beauty.
Sporting the girls in classical silhouettes, Owens made sure that each tunic, toga, chiton and armour allowed the girls to move freely by slitting and draping them right. Fusing martial arts and street wear, the clothes possessed the simplest and airiest of lines in lightweight cotton, silk and suede, with the juxtaposition of rigid mega duchesse and heavy leather that gave the collection a Gothic spin. Looking down, the girls wore high-top trainers from Owens' collaboration with Adidas, presented in monochrome and beige, giving them athleticism throughout their dynamic step routine.
In the finale, a human caterpillar forms and an alliance constructs between the four opposing step teams: Momentum, Washington Divas, The Zetas and Soul Steps. This gave way to the Rick Owens underlining statement this season: teamwork.
Photos: Valerio Mezzanotti (Courtesy of Rick Owens)