Rick Owens Inverts the Pyramid: LUXOR Fall/Winter 2023

 The Lord of Darkness slices through the gray and beige at Paris Fashion Week, wielding a scythe of sartorial perversion

The Lord of Darkness slices through the gray and beige at Paris Fashion Week, wielding a scythe of sartorial perversion.

Entering the show, we are transported to his dominion of contortion and ingenuity. While the Palais de Tokyo may not exactly be the Underworld, Rick Owens casts a shadow of sensational subversion with its Fall/Winter 2023 collection, Luxor.

Last season, Owens brought us into EDFU, the Temple of Horus. Through allusion to Egyptian mythology, a mesmerizing display of gauze-like trousers and blazers flooded the collection. Presenting a duality of deconstruction and reconstruction, the bold, experimental spirit at Rick Owens inverted garments etching acuity into the collection’s design philosophy.

Juxtaposing fragility with strength, the American designer contrasted delicate, flowing elements with notoriously sturdy ones, Dyneema and rip-stop nylon—a tasteful choice for a vacation on the Nile or the apocalypse.

Deviating from its usual course, its Spring/Summer 2023 collection left Owens’ cult-like following considering the addition of color to their vocabulary of cavernous hues of black and charcoal. Bright purple, pink, green, and yellow defied the house’s affair with somber colors. With a fervor for breaking the rules, it seems Owens delighted in breaking some of his own, leaving the mouths of spectators agape.

Courtesy of Rick Owens

Reinstating a sovereign of darkness, Rick Owens circles back to inky hues in its Fall/Winter 2023 collection. While fanatics of the brand have developed a trained eye for his subliminal spectrum of black, the Paris-based fashion house introduces moss, dusty raisin, and a concentrated espresso into its color palette.

Grotesque silhouettes entrance viewers, emanating an enrapturing darkness. Shoulders curve like spines in an H.R. Giger composition while sleeves ceaselessly stretch models’ arms, establishing a chic Nosferatu-like rendition of unconventional beauty.

A reductive abstraction of a cape opens the show paired with ultra-low-waist shorts. Contrasting Owens’ peers, he shortens legs and lengthens the waist to invert the pyramid of fashion’s affinity for extensive limbs with the collection’s first impression. Creating a mirage of complex layers, the look is topped off with a punchy update on the Kiss boot. Ruched at the thigh and fanning into an expansive free-flowing figure, supple leather sags as it reaches soaring platforms.

Courtesy of Rick Owens

Outspread, sharp tailoring extends past the shoulders to create a pentagonal silhouette in the collection’s outerwear. Look four, in particular, contrasts this overbearing geometrical figure as the waist cinches tightly under a ballooning expanse of heavy fabric.

Through a minimalistic spin on color blocking, Owens employs paneling of black, charcoal, and other variations of off-black shades to establish a geometric hierarchy. Texture, too, is a pillar of look six as leather is placed against contrasting fabrics to navigate the eye throughout its remarkable composition.

One puffer vest frames the clavicle with a vast stretch of smooth leather. As the jacket progresses downwards, a cinched rendition of rock-hard abs is reimagined through padded panels. Owens’ clever reference to the human anatomy establishes a fit that exiles the bulky puffer vests of the past evocative of the Michelin-man.

Courtesy of Rick Owens

Redolent of a gothic Atlantis, the collection also featured a bomber jacket adorned with scales throughout its oversized figure. Paired with knee-high platform boots encased in patent leather and inordinate straps, he re-interprets the Parisian obsession with nautical fashions.

Darkness consumes the eyes of models, leaving not a glint of white in their absence. The war paint smeared down their faces can only mean a display of ferocity will ensue. As the show reaches its crescendo, inflatable garments enter the runway, enveloping its wearers in abstract forms that one may initially assume are vestiary parasites.

Courtesy of Rick Owens

Luxor embraces restrictive forms this season as brutalist structures and a hint of corporate goth seep into the runway. Tailored, knee-length skirts and blazers that suspend shoulders into stiff, rigid angles allude to power dressing frequented in the late twentieth century. This time explored in the male form. After all, it wouldn’t be a Rick Owens show without an inversion of gender norms.

Opera gloves glistening with calf-skin leather, bangles, and colossal shielded sunglasses heightened the avant-garde essence entwined in the brand’s roots. Its ideals of destruction also echoed into this collection as ultra-distressed Japanese denim transformed into knee-length skirts and flared jeans.

Courtesy of Rick Owens

Defiance, precision, and a splash of degeneracy are all ingredients of the distinct flavor at the brand’s core. Rick Owens’ iconoclastic bite has carved a spot in the hearts of misfits and those fascinated by the strange and unusual. Perhaps it is his ability to instill a language of codified elegance through his chosen materials. Or maybe the allure lies within his disregard for structure and the burning desire to shatter the mold of the rigid elite. As his design ethos continues to evolve, the only thing that is certain is that Owens will be immortalized through his fearless vision scraping against the grain of fashion’s conventions.

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