Rick Owens Gethsemane FW21 Womens by Aybuke Barkcin


Dear Shaded Viewers,

With no audience and only a small team, Rick Owens presented his third collection in Lido, Venice where he has been staying since the beginning of the pandemic and to the designer the shows started to feel more and more like a private ceremony.

This collection, similar to the menswear show, was called Gethsemane… a continuation of Owens’s interpretation of suppressed rage and aggression that he channeled from the pandemic and recent U.S. elections.

“Gethsemane was the garden Jesus prayed in the night before the crucifixion; a place of uneasy repose and disquiet before a final reckoning. We’ve all been living a tense period in history waiting for a resolution, be it catastrophic or rational, in a suspense that feels almost biblical in its drama.” the designer explained in the shownotes.

Most people consider Rick Owens to be a designer of the future. I disagree, Rick Owens is a visual translator of our times and with this season, like many others, the designer portrayed an honest representation of our state of mind and the state of our bodies. As we are confronted with the reality of the pandemic and all that has surfaced as a result of it, we fear each other more than ever… we feel alarmed and protective, trying to mask our bodies like cocoons, disconnecting from all that lays outside our walls.

Body suits and gowns were cut viciously, like an attack on the body revealing the hidden layers underneath. Sequinned thongs were worn over full body-suits, taking away its arousing nature only to leave behind sexuality as a symbolic representation. Square toed boots, a cult favourite, lifted the models as far from the ground as possible while their silhouettes disappeared under puffer capes. The presence of coats and jackets were amplified with power shoulders, a portrayal of male aggression as the designer called it.

“These shoulders are a response to fear and anxiety; defiance in the face of threat. I have shown masks with these pandemic shows not because my masks are guaranteed protection, but because they are a vote for responsibility and consideration and an acknowledgement of our immediate collective experience.”

For Rick Owens in every detail, there is a purpose.

Aybuke Barkcin

Aybüke Barkçin is an art director, photographer, curator and writer that looks at fashion through the lens of political and societal dynamics. She completed her master's Creative Direction in POLIMODA, Italy and has a background in International Relations and Graphic Design. Her work can be found in her website: https://www.aybukebarkcin.com/