15 September 2009

That Dark Allure

I was recently reading this article by The New York Times about the influence of Rick Owens in the fashion world, both on the catwalk and the high street. His dark and brooding imaginings, full of washed and worn-in leathers, with a paradoxically anti-fashion slant, have gained nothing short of a cult following of die-hards in the past few years. I have to admit that although his concepts are not always the most accessible on the catwalk, they have an undeniable allure.

Even to one such myself, a stickler for the likes of colour, his aesthetic continues to draw me in. Indeed I recently wrote about my particular fondness for conjuring up such a dark image for this Winter. Although I am perhaps not quite ready to commit fully to an outfit of the sheer jersey tank, washed leather jacket, half shaven head and sky high boots, there are certainly pieces which in dissection are most appealing to satisfy just about any taste.

What I found interesting about the article was that it spoke of Rick Owens having inspired a multitude of other designers and the high street stores. Whilst a designer inspiring the high street, is taken for granted, I was fascinated by the way they spoke of the relationship of Owens with his fellow designers. The idea of his clothing speaking to other designers was most interesting, for it is often the way a trend or style can so rapidly be picked up by a number of designers, which I find so wonderful about fashion. I do feel the article may have been a touch flippant however, for at times it may easily have come across to mean that the other designers simply take their lead from Owens.

I think the fashion world shall always have designers following different paths, whilst a certain group of designers seem to concurrently explore similar areas. Indeed this is exactly an instant where I see this occurring, with the likes of Helmut Lang, Gareth Pugh and Alexander Wang creating collections in a similar area of style. I say area, for whilst the designs have a similar slant, it would be foolish to simply classify them all as the same style. It is this area of style which I find an exciting one to explore, if only for the concepts and imaginings one discovers.


Whilst Owens may remain popular, and deservedly so, I must admit that my tastes in such an area of style lie elsewhere. From the more accessible looks of Helmut Lang to the more complex concepts of European-based Damir Doma and Japanese label Julius. What the article describes as more "aggressive" looks, I would actually be tempted to call softer, in the case of Doma especially. These alternatives, which I call not in disrespect for their standing outright, provide another angle on the area of style which Owens may for the majority currently champion.

- "My name is Master Mace Windu. My purple lightsaber is not just a weapon, it's a fashion statement"
- "My name is Obi-Wan, and these aren't the droids you're looking for"
- "I'm Anakin, and dearie me, I think I may just throw up"

Looking over the Fall '09 collections I fell in love with the beautifully draped and billowing silhouettes of Damir Doma. He managed to present what I would consider to be a fusion of both past and futuristic aesthetics, in that they resembled the retro-fitted future fashions of Lucas' Star Wars franchise. The techniques of draping and wrapping, ones quite at home during the Classical period, find themselves recreated for an almost post-apocalyptic future. Indeed with my love for the costume designs of both post-apocalyptic films and the Star Wars franchise, is it any surprise that I find these looks so wonderfully alluring?

Comparatively the Julius collection had a decidedly more Cyberpunk appeal, with the cargo pants and belted trousers serving to create a beautifully futuristic and traditionally sci-fi look. The hi-tech and low-life landscape showed elements of survival-inspired functional clothing. One could easily make parallels to the likes of the classic Blade Runner. And indeed I often feel the likes of costume design and fashion collide in a wonderful way, for concepts and trends can often easily permeate throughout the ranks of the arts. One needs only look at the recent (and hopefully finished?) '80s revival, with its influence on contemporary popular music, let alone fashion.


Whilst the sight of Rick Owens inspired clothing on the racks of Topshop or in the t-shirt pile at American Apparel may have some wondering whether the longevity of such a style (or perhaps the latest trend in high street terms) is dwindling, I think that the direction and exploration of such art is far too diverse to simply catalogue away. Indeed diversity invariably creates longevity, for the more imaginings there are to inspire, the wider a potential audience becomes. I believe that the very number of designers exploring such a direction means that just about anybody could find something to relate to.

Currently playing: Sunshine - Lupe Fiasco

xxxx

22 comments:

  1. ah the ''mother said'' note is so cute.haha

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  2. Hmm, definitely not a style that appeals to me at all, but interesting to think about, nonetheless.

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  3. I hadn't realized it until I read this post, but Owens has been influencing me, too! I've been madly DIY-ing up some weird, deconstructed knit pieces that I plan to trot out this winter, and they look just as cocoon-like as these runway jobs.

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  4. loose and deconstructed and so much layering.. i like

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  5. mmm, you got me drooling now. love this!

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  6. Great article. Maybe he's briging back the massive scarf too.

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  7. For sci-fi..it has an Earhyness to it too.

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  8. Great editorial as always dear, you do such a profund analise, very interesting to think about.

    xoxo

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  9. Love this post! Great writing!

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  10. you know what really draws me to rick owens, is the 1st time i heard him speak. he just comes across as so laid back and down to earth, not at all pretentious like you think he'd be with the clothes he designs, or like some of the people that wear his clothes. and i think he doesnt take it all so seriously. because he says his 1st job was basically knocking off designs.


    you had to take it to Star Wars!! you know i love that. i remember one of damir's showing it really reminded me a lot of lawerence of arabia (thought ive never seen the film) and very luke skywalker when he was living on tatooine. oh gosh, i just sounded really nerdy! i havent watched the movies in years i swear!!!!


    -ps. i thought you might like the fall/winter campaign for kris van assche. www.krisvanassche.com

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  11. I think that it is a style that is here to say...in some form or another.

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  12. Oooh I love all these simple looks, they are fantastic. Menswear is so inspiring.

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  13. i have the strongest urge to gasp whenever i see a rick owens coat.

    i always say and im not joking ,,, i tell people i have to won a rick owns leather jacket before i die .

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  14. I like fashion you can have an adventure in.

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  15. haha omg i love it i totally see the resemblance!

    love uuuu tons hope you are well! xo

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  16. There is this influence in the attire as if ready to do battle. Perhaps just the elements of the city.

    Great post!

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  17. So true. Case in point: Rad Hourani. Where would Rad be without Rick Owens? And OMG, where would the Rick Owens groupie crew (the one that's photographed every fashion week and includes that blonde haired androgynous kid who is 16??? I hate his youth. I was staring at the Versace ads in 16, not attending the shows) be without him? The questions will never be answered.

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  18. haha this does look inspired by Star Wars. it look rather mystical.

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  19. liking that Doma collection, cacoon like nomads! Great comparison to the blockbuster DK! ~xo*

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  20. Oooh I love all these simple looks, they are fantastic. Menswear is so inspiring.

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