Force of Habit: Rick Owens Men’s Fall 2014

The fashion world is still in thrall with the stomping tap steps and menacing pouts of the sorority divas that turned Rick Owens’ spring 2014 show into a piece of fashion history, an elusive paragon of originality. That standout performance came hot on the heels of an arresting men’s show last July, starring a live performance by Winny Puhh, a fearless Estonian rock band that seems ripe for a Spinal Tap-style movie. Inevitably, after the high shenanigans, expectations were particularly high this season. Owens even relinquished his familiar dark venue at Bercy, opting instead for the stately Théatre de Chaillot, with its towering windows overlooking the Eiffel Tower. What could he be up to?

But the Californian renegade wisely put the focus back on the clothes, displaying an excellent, serene collection that took luxurious streetwear to new heights. The look consisted of tunics, either draped, zippered, or elongated into drop-crotch jumpsuits. Cut in leather, some with a papery effect, they were paired with loose shorts and pants. The palette moved from appetizing tones of chocolate and deep brown to all-black, before ending on soothing gray hues.

The extraordinary footwear, two-tone sneakers or squishy Dr. Martens-style boots that reached the knee, completed the layered and long silhouette. Other highlights included nifty long coats, multi-strap vests, and circular zippers on the back of tunics which, once open, should offer a naughty view on the derrière.

There is something almost mystical about the Rick Owens man (and woman, for that matter), a feeling heightened this time by the terrific monastic headpieces. The all-black finale with the models walking in pairs, their expressions stoic, suggested cultish mores too impenetrable to decipher.

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