04 April 2011


Few designers have the ineffable cool factor that Rick Owens possesses. Maybe it’s the way the Californian designer can perfectly fuse grunge rock influences with high fashion workmanship. Perhaps it’s the perfectly cut sleeves of his tops that rest just on the ball of your thumb. Or what about the meticulous treatment he gives his choice materials: leather, jersey and denim? We deconstruct the collection to find out more.

The treated fabrics 
At the heart of the Rick Owens aesthetic is a blend of rock grunge and futuristic minimalism. This really comes into its own in the washes and fabric treatments used in DRKSHDW. On the 
grey and blue black leather sleeved denim jackets, we see his signature ‘blistered’ finish (resulting in a highly textured, soft feel) with the denim body bleached or washed in black dye. Distressed finishes sometimes lack the luxurious feel we look for, but Owens doesn’t disappoint.Owens says: “I try to give everything I make a worn, softened feeling. I admit there’s the attraction of melancholy damage, but there’s also an earthy comfort.”

The trouser shape
For Rick Owens, the 
drop crotch style reins. This looser ‘trail of smoke’ shape gives the perfect silhouette for wearing with draped tops and slim line jackets. There’s also the skirted short, a look that is – unlike the name suggests – more grunge rock than androgynous dresser. While it might not be for everyone, the skirted short is an iconic piece from the fashion alchemist, ideal for those fashion-forward trendsetters.Owens says: “I guess the shape I return to regularly is a small, controlled sharp shoulder, draping down to a trail of smoke.”

The signature detailing
Every item from the collection features a black grosgrain ribbon running from the inside, often visible through the light coloured tops or peeking out from the hem of a T-shirt. Each item also has a picture of Rick Owens wearing the collection, just in case you need some styling inspiration from the Californian couturier.
Owens says: “It’s not art, at least not in my case, but it gets kinda close. It’s sort of telling a story bit by bit, season after season…”

The layering tools
This is a collection made for layering. Try wearing the 
razor back vest under thedemi-sheer panelled tee, or mix those earthy industrial shades with the blue leather sleeve jacket over one of the abstract print tops. That’s not to say these items can’t be worn with other pieces from your wardrobe; Helmut Lang, Acneand 3.1 Phillip Lim are labels that channel an equally as refined take on contemporary rock styling.Owens says: “You build up a history of ideas, little connotations, observations, and try and turn it into a whole, something of beauty.”