California-native and Paris-resident designer Rick Owens defended his title as “the godfather of brutal chic” in the presentation of his autumn/winter ready-to-wear collection today at Paris Fashion Week. His new collection, candidly labeled “Mastodon,” is a fierce, dark and apocalyptic assemblage constructed to reflect the current state of global ecology. Owens asserted his environmentalist convictions to Vogue in an interview before the show proclaiming, “Mastodons don’t exist anymore, as we won’t. Maybe there’s an acceptance level we should look for.” In his thought-provoking garments, Owens channels contemporary society’s anxiety about rapidly warming temperatures and the deteriorating state of the natural world at the hands of a generation defined by excess, artifice, technology and carbon emissions.
Today Owens walked us through his own prophetic vision, offering runway gawkers insight into the equally unpredictable futures of fashion and the global environment. he collection itself featured a plethora of earth-toned garments that ranged from deep black and stone grey to sandy beige and rusted green. The apocalyptic aesthetic ran through the seams of each of the 40 looks that crossed the catwalk, manifesting itself in recurring essences of edgy warrior armor and distressed peasant frocks (think Hunger Games meets Mulan.) The most striking elements of the collection were the metallic masks hand-painted on to a selection of Owens’s models in order to compliment the mineral-esque golds and silvers that decorated some of the line’s more opulent pieces. With his collection Mastodon, Rick Owens paints an unapologetically grim picture of society’s future in order to remind us of climate change’s unforgiving impacts on our natural world. We applaud Owens for boldly fusing subversive socio-political ideas and superior fashion design, as the rogue designer nails both style and critique to present a symmetrically chic and radical collection.