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It started with a bang. The courtyard outside the brutalist paradise Palais de Tokyo was filled with blue smoke, and from out of the mist came Rick Owens’ SS19 “BABEL MEN’S” collection. The show opened with Estonian rapper Tommy Cash in a sleeveless scaffolded white T-shirt, while an instrumental version of his track “PUSSY MONEY WEED” soundtracked the collection.

The Lord of Darkness had his own take on popper pants for SS19 (or as the show notes described them, “SNAP AWAY PANTS IN SILK GAZAR”), which engulfed new models from his Birkenstock collaboration.

Owens threw some denim into the mix too, while toying with some classic workwear motifs. SS19 showed the designer’s personal take on Americana classic skate shorts and Western shirts but, of course, with drop crotches, snaking long sleeves and three-pronged metallic keychains attached to the waist.

Another extreme look – a treat for the hardcore Rick Owens tribe – came in the form of a sheer face mask with long black tendrils covering the the face and extending to below the knees.

Of course, Rick Owens shows typically bleed into theatre, although there were no headline-grabbing gimmicks this season. No step dancers, no exposed genitalia or death threats to Angela Merkel.

However, it’s important to note that Rick Owens doesn’t need to do this to prove himself as a designer, as the magic is already in the clothes themselves. The last looks of the show were hooded nylon ponchos that were also fully realized as constructivist tents that protruded out of the torso. The show notes explain that these garments are shipped with all the necessary aluminum poles to create the tent, “AS A REMINDER OF WHAT CAN BE”.

Like Raf Simons, whose show the night before was pure fashion and zero memery, Rick feels like one of the last high-fashion designers standing, especially compared to the headline-grabbing antics that typically precede commercial success in 2018. Take a peep at the best looks from the show in the gallery above.

Later that day, Virgil Abloh made history with his debut SS19 menswear collection for Louis Vuitton

Words by Max Grobe
Associate Fashion Editor