PARIS — While the tough economy has pushed many other designers from the realm of the edgy and into the consensual, Rick Owens continues to cater to the margins with a spring-summer 2012 collection dominated by what’s possibly menswear’s hardest sell: the man skirt.
The California-born designer served them up in long and short iterations Thursday, layering miniskirt over miniskirt over leggings, or pairing razor-cut blazers with ankle-length skirts with bold slits up the back.
“I’m not going to sell tons of them,” Owens acknowledged in a post-show interview.
“But if there’s anyone on the planet that can sell skirts to men, it’s me.
“It’s a niche, but I like the niche,” he said.
Besides the skirts, the collection — shown in a stadium in eastern Paris that was plunged into darkness for the occasion — was dominated by floor-length tank dresses in nubby blacks, charcoal greys and khakis. With their long, elegant lines, the dresses evoked hermits wandering the deserts.
“I like the idea of promoting dignity and wisdom,” said Owens, adding that for him, the man dress — with its airs of Ancient Greece and philosophers and monks — embodies both. It’s a fair guess that many, many men might disagree with Owens on that one. But watching his models, who looked willowy and ravishing in their dresses, those present at Thursday’s show couldn’t help but agree.