Rick Owens’ urban Faun for Spring/Summer 2015

Rick Owens showcases his menswear Spring/Summer 2015 collection, entitled “Faun”, during menswear week in Paris, with the iconic Eiffel Tower providing a traditionally Parisian backdrop to the otherwise progressive urban ensembles.

Owens reveals that the inspiration for his avant-garde collection comes from the Ballets Russes’ Afternoon of a Faun, notably helmed by Vaslav Nijinsky in 1912. Like the ballet, which was scandalous in its time and yet innovative in being one of the first truly modernist ballets, Owens explores animalistic and sensual themes through clothes and makeup.

Graphic, angular shapes with sharp, clear lines dominate the collection, often paired with loose-fitting shorts and sleeveless tunic tops. Light, black, double-breasted summer coats see occasional appearances, both worn and trailing artistically behind the models, as did long-sleeve designs. Some of the designs are decidedly more faun-like than others—namely the boxer shorts incorporating sashes draped across the models’ torsos. This is a nod to the faun in the ballet, who was left devastated and heartbroken, with only the scarf of the nymph he lost his heart to on that fateful afternoon as a memento to masturbate on. Given the designer’s predisposition to court controversy, it should be no surprise that such a provocateur should find himself a kindred spirit for Rick Owens.

The color scheme Owens sent down the runway is inspired by the Russian painter and scene and costume designer Léon Bakst—also notable for his work at the Ballets Russes—with blacks, whites, greys, dusty pinks, khakis, olive and plum tones featuring heavily in the collection. All styling is intentionally haphazard, to go with the duality of the contemporary-yet-traditional, a modern take on the mythical.

Headgear, chalky face and body paint, and leather harnesses appear on some of the models, giving them a faintly ethereal quality, as if they would not be out of place in a Greek myth. Footwear is a consistent offering in black or white, flat, mid-calf-height boots—exactly what a modern faun could be comfortable in when chasing after 21st century nymphs in the concrete jungle.

Inspired by a creative genius of the early 20th century, Rick Owens stays true to his glamour-meets-grunge form and, like Nijinsky, presents his work in the beautiful city of Paris. If Nijinsky had been in the audience, he would certainly have approved.

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