Ah Rick Owens, fashion's dark prince, master of the deconstructed geometric cut. He has perfected the art of merging shock value with innovative ideas in clothing—with Owens you always get the best of both. In 2013, he made news by inviting various step teams to perform and showcase his collection in Paris. It caused a ruckus to say the least. Earlier today, during Paris men's Fashion Week, he topped that stunt by including some visible penises in a show of his new collection for fall/winter 2015.
The show opened with a selection of coats and outerwear in Owen's signature trapeze shape, a solid update on one of his classic staples. The scandal, however, came via experimentations with the repositioning of clothes on the body: a selection of tunics, jackets, and capes, wrapped and draped, designed to be worn upside-down or in reverse. These alternate orientations made for a game of peekaboo on the runway models who were, ahem, obviously without any undergarments. As they did that walk models do they exposed various parts of the body—a shoulder here, a nipple there. But when you wear a top upside-down, with no pants or underwear, it offers a clear line of sight through the neck hole to your naughty bits.
WARNING: THIS PHOTO HAS A PENIS IN IT
Photo by Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
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You could never accuse Owens of being a prude—remember the animal-skin cock ring he sold in his New York store? Eroticism is a theme he indulges often, normally with subtlety and sophistication (note his body-centric cut) and always in an effort to disrupt the status quo. Though Owens sports a formidable physique himself, he is not the sort of designer to show muscled-up lads bounding down the runway in thongs. This particular display of genitals does not so much illicit lust as it does a naïve honesty, a shamelessness of the body, as if Adam never ate that apple and realized his own nakedness. Hey is my cock out? the models seem to ask. Oh, hey, it is. Huh. Well how about that. The show brings to mind the work of another American avant-garde pioneer, Rudi Gernreich, who is best known for his topless bathing suit, introduced in 1964. For Gernreich it was a political reaction against sexual repression, the sentiment then was that women have breasts, get over it. In this instance guys have dicks. Big deal.
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