Rick Owens stands alone in the international fashion industry. An art school dropout turned to be a contemporary avant-garde superstar with a distinct aesthetic of worn-out elegance.
His draped, dark and perfectly cut clothes are the antithesis of the sunshine-saturated, bleached teeth image of LA, where he lived for many years.
After he dropped out of “Parsons School of Design”, he started out studying pattern cutting at a local trade school. In 1988 Rick took a job in LA’s Garment District where he earned his keep as a pattern cutter for six years, until in 1994 he finally set up his own label and began selling his small collections through Charles Gallay’s experimental fashion boutique.
Nineties pop culture and Hollywood’s red carpets were an important influence on these designs, resulting in bias-cut gowns and trailer-park vests that were daring and unique. He playfully describes his darkly chic clothes as “glunge”, a mixture of glamour and grunge.
Rather than show on a catwalk, Rick travelled the world throughout the 90s presenting his designs to fashion buyers and developing an impressive client list of pop and rock royalty like Madonna and Courtney Love. In 2002 American Vogue offered to sponsor his autumn/winter collection, his first ever show on a runway, and he took New York Fashion Week by storm. That same year he won the “Perry Ellis Emerging Talent Award” from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and the year after he left LA behind and moved to Paris.
Today the Rick Owens label includes two diffusion lines alongside the main collection.
Rick Owens Lilies, a collection of simple, stunning basics and DRKSHDW, a denim collection. He also designs furniture and a fur collection, entitled “Palais Royal”.