- Words by Mr Peter Henderson, Senior Fashion Writer, MR PORTER
Buying your first Rick Owens leather jacket is a rite of passage for fashion fans. Parting with the cash the first time can produce a sharp intake of breath but, by God, is it worth it. And it quickly becomes a habit. For there's something otherworldly about how the butter-soft leather hangs on the body, cut to absolute perfection in a way that elongates and flatters, fastened with heavy zippers which run as smoothly as a German auto. At once you're transported to the worlds of both sophisticated Paris couture, and to that of some anonymous grungy Goth kid, which is no mean feat; it can almost catch you off-guard when you slip on one of Mr Owens' jackets. That's the thing about Rick Owens clothes, though. They speak of culture and sub-culture in ways which you can't quite put your finger on - if you even look past their faultless technical quality and Italian production, that is.
The high-low tension in Rick Owens collections (which include a full range of clothes and accessories as well as leather jackets) is mirrored in the man himself. A California native who now lives and works in Paris, Mr Owens looks more like a rock god than a fashion designer, with his long, jet-black hair, gym-sculpted physique and impressive inking. His first job was in the Los Angeles garment industry making knock-off designer pieces, but now his own clothes are among the most sought-after in the world, and are imitated at every turn. He switches between talking about underground Chicago rappers and New York dealers of fine porcelain completely naturally. There's something refreshingly simple about what Mr Owens sets out do to. He's not into reinventing the wheel or pushing lofty concepts: he simply makes cool, infinitely wearable clothes in the best possible way. Recently he has moved into furniture design too, extending his focused, dark aesthetic to interiors as well. It's an attractive world of furniture constructed from concrete and animal antlers, with just the right amount of menace behind the minimalism to keep you on your toes.
You can find out what is inspiring Mr Owens right now by navigating the slides, above.