Entering from between two large, angled slab-like panels that looked like the entrance to a futuristic pyramid, the models wearing Rick Owens' spring and summer 2012 menswear collection strode down the runway in floor-length garments so crisp the swoosh of fabric on fabric could be heard over the din of the show soundtrack.
Some resembled the wrapped robes of Buddhist monks, other pieces looked like sleeveless linen dresses, with seemingly little in common. But as the show progressed things began to take shape. And that shape was decidedly the sharp V of the triangle or, in three dimensions, the pyramid. (Stretch the notion a bit, stack a few together and you've got chevrons -- which have been turning up on the runways of Milan and Paris over the last week.)
Once you picked up on the pyramid scheme, it seemed to be everywhere -- not just the wide base of the robe hems, but the black leather triangle at the breastbone formed by the geometric drape of fabric over the shoulders, the lapels of the jacket angling in to a single button closure and angling out again, the white zippers on a sleeveless black tunic that angle out from the Adam's apple, the stacked bars that increased in width from top to bottom down the front of knit shirts that fall to mid-thigh.
By the end of the show, even the splayed-open jacket cuffs and laceless suede boot uppers seemed to be complicit in the triangulation. Even if you don't appreciate Rick Owens' severe, austere, sunglass-wearing-monks-from-the-future aesthetic, you'd be hard-pressed not to recognize his design skills.
After the show, I started to think about the ancient Egyptians and the Aztecs and the spiritual, mystical power-focusing aspect of the pyramids. As I left the venue and headed to the Metro, I happened to glance back at the Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy -- the stadium/performance space where Owens has staged his menswear shows for the last several seasons.
That's when it dawned on me that the grass-covered walls of the uniquely shaped building slope into a pyramid.
-- Adam Tschorn, reporting from Paris
Photos: Looks from the Rick Owens spring / summer 2012 runway collection shown during Paris Fashion Week. Credit:Michel Euler / Associated Press.