Rick Owens’s Penis-Out Runway Show Nods to Classical Sculpture

A look from Rick Owen's Fall 2015 Menswear line.

Cult designer Rick Owens has a knack for taking risks. For his spring/summer 2014 women’s ready-to-wear show he sent a slew of traditional African-American step teams down the runway as models—a shock to an industry oversaturated by size zero, towering, and almost alien-like model types.

Last Thursday, at his men’s Fall 2015 presentation in Paris, he made audiences take notice once again. Midway between his runway show, three men came down the catwalk with holes strategically placed in their pricey garments to expose their nether regions. It happened so fast and unexpectedly, according to New York Magazine, that some bereft editors, who were busily texting, missed it.

What was the logic behind the revelatory garb? Owens told WWD in an email, “I pass classical marble statues of nude and draped figures in the park every day, and they are a vision of sensuality—yes, but also of grace and freedom. As a participant in one of our most progressive aesthetic arenas, am I not allowed to use this imagery? Is it only appropriate for a Michael Fassbender movie? I thought this might be an interesting question.”

The designer goes on to say, “Having been influenced by fear and shame growing up, I love the idea of putting a more loving energy out there whenever I can. We all know that runway looks aren’t meant to be taken literally, they illustrate an ethos. I would like to present a utopian world of grace free of fear and shame,” he said.

It’s no surprise that Owens was inspired by classical statues for this year’s menswear runway show. After all the designer debuted a massive statue of himself to celebrate the opening of his Selfridge’s concept store (see Giant Sculpture of Designer Rick Owens Lands at Selfridges). When it comes to the conversation of “how far is too far?” with regard to nudity in the arts (see L’Origine du Monde Sparks Facebook Legal Battle), Owens’s is a noble contribution.



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