Rick Owens’ interpretation of the theme of island in his S/S 2013 collection was as sombre as you could possibly expect from a designer with his wonderfully austere pedigree, digging deep into ideas of isolation, protection and even finding the sombre in dappled light and shimmering water.  Elsewhere references to the island could be found in the tribal in thawb/thobe robes and you couldn’t help but see a rather camp reference to Tarzan in furs slung over one shoulder in a reworking of his single strapped vest that is now all the more wearable as a layer.  In fact this collection did feel like a consolidation of some of the key ideas that Rick Owens has been exploring lately, the flaps from Gleam were back, the wrapped Astaire trousers from Mountain turned up as shorts as did the Naska skirts which I hope will remain a summer staple from Rick Owens for many years to come.  But despite this unification of ideas, the whole felt like a significant departure for the designer as it was positively swimming with colour (for Rick Owens at any rate) and despite the structured upper body that we have come to expect, the lower body was surprisingly flowing and free, with the addition of stacked leg warmers throwing in an uncharacteristic random element to his usually strict styling.

Like the skirts and dresses of Naska I can’t help but worry that many won’t be able to get past the leg warmers and clogs combination that Owens chose to dress all but a handful of his models in.  Personally at least I enjoyed the brutal simplicity of clogs in their leather, wood and studs, and from a Tokyo perspective at least they are not far removed from the men’s geta you still see the old men wearing.  The combination of a man’s stride and distinctive clop of wood on pavement has a certain gallantry to it and when combined with a pulled up leg warmer does recall a high boot.  Obviously they are not going to appeal to everyone, but as the key styling point of the season, I think they are an absolute triumph and the rebel in me wants a pair right now, and seeing as they look identical to the women’s from S/S 2011 that might be easy to achieve.

Here you can see the Tarzan-esque single shouldered layer working perfectly with Owens’ classic column silhouette.

Translucent fabrics in outers were a big theme in this collection and gave his structures the feel of a mirage.

Leather was in short supply, but where it did crop up boded well for his next A/W collection.

The combination of the urban brick pattern combined with the organic fur and primitive form in the vest above was the standout item for me and encapsulated Rick Owen’s unique take on the meaning of “island” perfectly.

I can see these shapes being used well in the DRKSHDW line.

The robes are back in stiffer fabrics and presented without pleats which I can’t help feel gives them a slightly more masculine feel.

Replace the clogs with trainers and you have a classic Rick Owens look that I am sure people will still snap up no-matter what direction Owens’ creative direction takes the brand as a whole.

Abstract illusions to tree bark and leaves are surprisingly subtly integrated with Rick Owen’s perfectionist approach to panels.

The show ended on a series of commercial winners such as this abstract skeletel coat above.

The long bomber with skirt combination presented a very urban take on the closed and protective meaning of island.

A very inspirational showing from Rick Owens this season, and I am very grateful for this one dalliance you all permit me one non-Japanese brand per season here on Tokyo Telephone – but if this site is all about sharing what ought to be seen, then I see no problem in including this collection as waves from this are surely going to be felt in Tokyo very soon indeed.

We will have more from Paris very soon indeed, broken up with something quintessentially of Tokyo over the weekend…

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