Rick Owens Redefines Beauty at Paris Fashion Week

In an industry seldom known for its acceptance of unaltered beauty, Rick Owens’ Spring 2014 Ready To Wear Collection is a breath of fresh air. Omitting traditional runway presentation, Owens recruited four American college step-teams to model his warrior-like collection.

En Vogue Photography: Rick Owens

A sea of warrior-performers stomped their feet and clapped their hands as they descended down a massive staircase. Layers of paper-mache-like skirt, leather belts, and martial-arts influenced wraps stormed the stage. Paper white dresses vibrantly contrasted with gold sneakers and loose black hoods.

However, the clothing was simply an accessory in Owen’s show. Instead, the RTW show shape-shifted into a brilliant and energetic performance
Owen’s specifically fit his pieces to each model. Many wore very little facial make-up, their hair wildly surrounded their faces. Most, if not all, confidently wore an aggressive expression on their face, freely growly and yelling throughout the performance.

The step team’s vibrant dance has a long history in African-American sororities. The powerful dance enforces military-like precision, tribal clapping, slapping and thumping as well as fierce facial expression.

The powerful performance was a brilliant divergence from orthodox runway, and unlike anything ever seen on Paris Fashion Week. Not only did Owens’s RTW feature one of America’s most popular street-influenced dances, it also destroyed conventional beauty models typically seen at Fashion week.

It was extremely beautiful and uplifting to see a member of the fashion community feature African American women in his show- especially at a time when very few African Americans and colored women are recognized in fashion. More importantly, the women’s personalities and individuality, as seen through their dance moves, was the show’s focal point.

Owens’s show is a proud celebration of  confidence, diversity and individuality.

Not to mention, it looks really cool.

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