Legendary fashion designers Rick Owens, Michele Lamy and Waris Ahluwalia wearing our masks at Lancaster House for a charity masquerade party hosted by Prince Charles. - Photo by: David M. Benett
Rick Owens, international fashion phenom known for his iconoclastic visions and striking designs, contacted us this summer about a collaboration for his SS20 women's collection. The project he described was based around the exploration of his Mexican heritage and we found out later that it was partly inspired as a reaction to Donald Trump’s regressive ploy to build a wall between the US and Mexico. He asked Steve to design “metallic alien Aztec crowns that might have come from a Fritz Lang film.”
Here we see Headdress Five designed by Steve based on conversations with Rick and his team
In an example of how artistic collaborations can happen remotely in the 21st Century, the opportunity arose when Steve and his family were setting off to France. Fortunately, he'd just finished kitting-out his van with solar power, so he found a nice-looking field in France, parked up and started designing Mesoamerican headdresses from the retrofuture in his mobile lab. The design brief provided a basic guide to the direction of Rick’s new project, so Steve used the first few sketches sent back and forth to build the foundations of a style which could remain consistent throughout all five headdresses designed for the collection.
“Stoic Bauhaus Aztec priestesses in an art deco Valhalla filled with bubbles animated by fantasia-era Disney.” - Rick Owens
"Many traditional Mesoamerican headdresses featured a high degree of decoration and ornamentation which would not be practical or appropriate in this context. Flattening colour and surface decoration, I focused on reducing the familiar forms and angles of historical headdresses into imposing monochrome silhouettes. It's satisfying to see the hard-metallic surfaces and angular shapes balance against organic curves and fluid movement of fabric." - Steve
"Named after my grandmother’s Mixtec maiden name. I never really explored my Mexican-ness but the debate over a border wall made me more conscious of who I would be separated from." - Rick Owens
The show, “Tecuatl”, took place in the legendary Palais de Tokyo in Paris. The venue is all-encompassing, like a Roman Pantheon garnished with stone statue, divided by a pale blue mirror-pool from which bubble artists pull and waft clear orbs into the atmosphere. They float lightly, contrasting the heaviness of the models’ presence. The procession yields incredible ensembles that bring together elements of modern glamour, fractured and rearranged into new forms that evoke an ancient tribal futurism. In ritualistic style, the forms display themselves to the audience, revealing slashes of human skin searing from the sharp geometric silhouettes. Steve’s headdresses adorn their crowns beacon-like in the Dionysian dystopian daydream. It was thrilling to behold and be part of what Nicole Phelps of Vogue Magazine described as “one of the most captivating collections of the week—if not the season.” View the show in full below: