Water World: Rick Owens Spring 2018

Rick Owens has been marveling at the beauty of the imposing Palais de Tokyo in Paris for seasons now, haunting its underground space before “caressing its exterior,” he said, with his astonishing men’s show last June. Today, for the female version of that collection, also called Dirt, the audience sat around the same courtyard, with its central fountain emitting mist before erupting into geyser-like, sky-high spurts that formed a geometric, brutalist aquatic block, eventually spraying the models.

While the show didn’t reach the stratospheric heights of the men’s version, it was hard to miss the beauty of the asymmetrical, long-line dresses in stark all white, black, and occasionally green. Shoulder-revealing, they bunched beautifully. The couture feel of the dresses was balanced by street-wise styling, namely tube socks covering just one leg, extra-long sleeves adorning one arm and terrific orthopedic sandals with trailing straps.

Other standouts included 3D tops embroidered with what looked like thin tubes. And it was hard not to see a sort of homage to Rei Kawakubo in the finale, bumpy, abstract dresses that gave the impression that some machines in a tank top factory had gone awry.

It was also one of Owens’s “prettiest” shows. There was less of the designer’s fabled darkness on the runway, despite the sardonic squeals of laughter on the soundtrack. The models even looked like fresh young buds, their faces pure, their hair naturally falling over their shoulders from a center part.