Mountain Witches at Rick Owens

Today Rick Owens presented his womenswear spring collection, the sister collection to spring menswear under the same moniker, Babel. Where menswear took its inspiration from the never-to-be-constructed constructivist dream tower conceived by Vladimir Tatlin, under order from Lenin, today we were looking to mountain witches. As you do chez Rick.

The familiar Palais de Tokyo courtyard had a huge constructivist-looking scaffold tower with strange white padding applied to the exterior. The countless fire extinguishers scattered around it gave away the coup de théâtre, even more than the oversize sunglasses that looked like the eyewear worn in Lee Miller’s infamous 1941 photograph Women with Fire Masks. And it couldn’t have been more appropriate. Look 19 saw a model walking out in an outfit completely made of cut out patent leather geometric forms, mirroring the tower and symbols, carrying a flaming torch replete with ‘firewatcher’ glasses. She walked the perimeter, and then, when she reached the tower in the center, she set it on fire. The heat that came off it made the autumn sun seem positively cool. These witches, burning their own pyre, eradicating an unbuilt monument, and predicting their own demise were the perfect antidotes — a palate cleanser. It was a ritualistic purging of sorts; they were setting us free.

The rules are meant to be broken here, and they certainly were, though the clothing was impeccable: sheath dresses with holes and slits cut to aid drape, décortiqué jackets, voluminous floating forms, and leather that was so soft it could be folded and tied in bows like cotton while still holding its three-dimensional form. Owens dances to the beat of his own drum, and today he made us question ourselves in the ever-spiraling fashion system, and perhaps his epic fire ritual has cleansed us all.