Rick Owens and Dr. Martens are back with their third collaboration, building on Owens’ signature subversion with two new footwear offerings taking over the forms of the footwear brand’s 1460 and 1918 boots. Following on from the first release that brought crisscrossed lacing to the 1460 Bex Platform boot and a second collaboration that reworked the boot as well as a pair of sandals, the duo now turns its attention once again to the iconic boot and also something more daring.
Starting with the 1460, Owens applies his usual darkness using a construction of soft yet heavyweight black “Lunar” leather, adding details like “Pearl” laces that have been threaded through extra-wide dull-silver eyelets. A black sole unit appears in its typical form, but is elevated both hypothetically and literally with the addition of height, leading the eye to elements like the AirWair heel loop that’s finished in “Pearl” scripture, before yellow welt stitching decorates the sole unit.
In complete contrast to this is the 1918 boot — an 18-eyelet calf-reaching style that leans deeply into Owens’ own footwear collection. “Platinum”-hued hair-on leather has been used across the entire shoe, while the same widened eyelets hold “Pearl” laces in place all the way up the extended tongue (a detail that can also be found on the 1460).
Naturally, heavy metal side-zips and laces long enough to wrap around both boot styles have been added for that quintessential iconoclastic Owens touch, while dual branding inside rounds things off. To date, these two styles might be Owens’ most daring, bringing in more of his own house cues than ever before to the punk-informed British footwear brand.
To understand more about the collaboration — and why Owens chose Ron Athey to spotlight the boots — read up on Dr. Martens’ interview with the lauded designer:
“I HAVE KNOWN RON ATHEY SINCE THE 1980S WHEN OUR PATHS WOULD CROSS IN THE FILTHIEST L.A. CLUBS I COULD FIND. RON WAS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CREATURE I HAD EVER SEEN, AND I AM AFRAID I WAS QUITE SMITTEN. HE BECAME A GOGO BOY AT CLUB FUCK, WHICH ATTRACTED THE HARDCORE PIERCING TECHNO SUBCULTURE THAT WAS STARTING TO EMERGE THEN, AND EVENTUALLY, HIS DANCING DEVELOPED INTO ACTIONS WHICH BECAME THE PERFORMANCE ARTWORK FOR WHICH HE IS KNOWN TODAY. THESE WORKS WERE CREATED DURING THE AIDS CRISIS WHEN ARTISTS WERE DEALING WITH THAT MOMENT OF DESPAIR WITH PHYSICAL DEMONSTRATIONS OF RAGE. THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL OF HIS WORKS WAS HIS PRINTING PRESS PERFORMANCE, DURING WHICH HE CUT SYMBOLS INTO HIS FRIEND’S BACK, PRESSED PAPER TOWELS TO THEM, AND CLIPPED THE BLOOD PRINTS TO A PULLEY SYSTEM THAT HOISTED THEM OVERHEAD IN THE PERFORMANCE SPACE. ALTHOUGH MINIMALLY SUPPORTED BY THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS, THIS PERFORMANCE BECAME PART OF THE POLITICAL DISCOURSE AND CONTROVERSY REGARDING WHICH ARTWORKS WERE SUITABLE FOR PUBLIC FUNDING. HIS WORK SPEAKS TO THE ETERNAL PRIMITIVE IN ALL OF US AND TO OUR SHARED HUMAN EXPERIENCES – FEAR, SHAME, SEXUALITY, MORTALITY, AND FAITH – IN A TIMELESS TRADITION OF BLOOD RITUALS, FROM THE DRAMA OF HUMAN SACRIFICE ON MAYAN ALTARS TO A MESSIAH ON A CROSS TO CHILDBIRTH TO BLOOD TESTS TO OUR CURRENT WAR… I ASKED RON TO REPRESENT THIS DR. MARTENS COLLAB AS AN EXAMPLE OF HOW ELEGANTLY REAL TRANSGRESSION – AND OUR INDIVIDUAL SEARCHES FOR TRANSCENDENCE – CAN BE.”
Adding to this, Owens also said: “WHEN I WAS A TEEN AND BECOMING PHYSICALLY AWARE, I SAW HOW A TIGHTLY LACED ANKLE LEADING TO A BROAD, SOLIDLY PLANTED FOOT HAD A SIMPLE, MODEST, INDUSTRIAL MASCULINITY – ALMOST LIKE A CORSET BETWEEN A MUSCLED CALF AND A STURDY FOOT THAT ACTED AS A STOIC BALLAST. DM’S EXEMPLIFIED THIS BEST. I SAW THEM ON ALL THE GUYS FLYING THROUGH THE AIR AT THE SHOWS I WENT TO THEN… FEAR… BLACK FLAG… THE SCREAMERS… ALIEN SEX FIEND… DR. MARTENS BECAME A SYMBOL OF A RAW AND SWEATY VITALITY THAT I THOUGHT I MIGHT BE ABLE TO PULL OFF… AND FOR A MINUTE, I THINK I DID… COMING FULL CIRCLE TO PARTNER WITH DR. MARTENS 40 YEARS LATER LEADS ME TO LACING THEM WITH PEARL-COLORED COTTON LACES IN A GEOMETRIC PATTERN THAT I USE OFTEN AS A SYMBOL OF OUR ETERNAL COLLECTIVE SEARCH FOR RATIONAL ORDER; SIGNS OF HOPE AND AN AFFECTIONATE BLESSING ON THE PERPETUAL RECKLESSNESS OF YOUTH.”
Rick Owens’ new collaboration with Dr. Martens will drop on the Dr. Martens website, in-store, and through Rick Owens on October 14. Take a closer look at the pairs above, and note that the 1460 will cost $370 USD and the 1918 will cost $750 USD.
For more reworked classics, check out Come Tees’ Converse collaboration.