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Rick Owens' FW19 collection, shown at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, is named "LARRY." But to understand the collection, you must first understand who Larry is.
Larry Legaspi was a designer who in the ’70s created the "black and silver space-sleaze" costumes for girl group Labelle and rockers KISS. If you wind back through Owens' old interviews, he often mentions Legaspi as an inspiration and decries his relative lack of recognition.
In his FW19 show notes, Owens wrote, "He introduced a camp ferocity to the mainstream, and helped set a lot of kids like me free with his art deco sexual ambiguity." Owens has just finished a book about Legaspi, too, which will be released around the same time as the new collection.
Owens' admiration for Legaspi came from his ability to shock and energize, something that segued well into this glam rock-inspired collection.
Walking to a cover of Abba's "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!" by Swedish ’80s rock band Leather Nun — a perfect mix of camp and goth — models came out in high-waisted black jeans, Dracula collar wool coats with lacquered canvas, black flannel tailoring with raw shearling, raw shearling coats with a Bauhaus shoulder, and a recontextualization of Americana through truck-stop jackets with black and silver degrade print.
Owens addressed contemporary discourse in his show notes, writing, "Maybe in an era of squeamish conservatism and easy outrage, we could use a bit of flamboyance." The flamboyance arrived most pointedly in the footwear: platformed heels that stretched out the models' lower half, contrasted by sharp, high shoulders.
A renowned footwear collaborator with the likes of adidas and Birkenstock, for FW19, Owens tapped sustainable French sneaker brand Veja for a new collaboration on 100 percent vegan sneakers. Addressing one of fashion's hot-button topics with a dose of nuance, Owen wrote in his notes, "I have absolutely no authority to promote sustainability, but I do endorse the idea of thoughtful living and planning for the future with kindness in mind. We all have to start somewhere."
Elsewhere in Paris, Louis Vuitton FW19 proved there's only one Virgil Abloh.