A name that never fails to deliver is Rick Owens, and for his Fall 2022 menswear show at Paris Fashion Week, the godfather of avant-garde goth-glam lit up Palais de Tokyo with his “STROBE” presentation.
Naturally, there was a heavy presence of black, taking form in new iterations of the designer’s signature Kiss, Beatle Bozo, and Tractor boots, as well as consistently throughout the runway’s presentation of clothes. Opening with Owens’ design collaborator and longtime muse Tyrone Dylan Susman, who was clad in a pair of black leather boots paired with a metal vest akin to last season’s necklaces and a wrap skirt, there was much anticipation as for what was to come next.
But, it was a typical affair for the following looks — draping fabrics (in black, of course) served up loose silhouettes before transitioning into standout showcases of padding and puffy nylon pieces, which again was elevated from previous seasons. Gimp mask-esque padded gilets covered the face with full-length zip closure, and this was repeated in pink fur and burnt orange fleece iterations.
Aside from gaping knitwear, deconstructed blazers, shoulders bigger than the peaks of Mount Everest, and a variety of graphic sweaters, T-shirts, and hoodies adorned with words such as “URINAL,” “SUBHUMAN,” and “OWENSCORP” came a dazzling array of looks accentuated with illuminated headpieces.
While merely a styling accent, these Dan Flavin and Ancient Egypt-inspired Philips bulb headpieces stole the show, echoing the strobe lights that pounded to the eerie sounds of Sisters of Mercy’s song “Lights,” lighting up the darkness for milliseconds to keep everyone in suspense and unable to look away.
The closing look encapsulated the energy of “STROBE,” as the model wore the towering bulb hat alongside an elongated goat hair bomber jacket cut to Owens’ signature proportions, black pants, and a pair of thigh-high boots. Lastly, throughout the runway, you’ll find looks “BALANCED OUT BY OUR NEW BLOWN-UP CONVERSE TURBOWPN AND DRKSTAR,” as per the Rick Owens press release. New colorways appeared, and will be seen in closer detail in the coming months.
In short, the effect of the show made it more about the silhouettes and the texture. It was a transition from the smoke-filled atmospheres he usually presents in, which gives the viewer a chance to catch the clothes in motion — here, with “STROBE,” clothes were purposefully bigger than life, matching the scale of Owens’ Fall 2022 collection, yet simultaneously hidden to mimic the mystery that many Owens fans adore. Rick Owens himself touches on this mystery, concluding his show notes with the remark: “DOESN’T EVERY GUY WANNA BE REMEMBERED AS A HEROIC WIZARD STANDING ON A CLIFF HOLDING A TORCH?”
In case you missed it, take a look at Virgil Abloh’s FW22 menswear collection for Louis Vuitton.