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Paris Fashion Week 2014: Rick Owens lets loose the fashion brawlers

Los Angeles Times Fashion Critic

PARIS -- Rick Owens sounded another call for female empowerment at Paris Fashion Week with his show Thursday, channeling the aggressive team spirit from last season's runway step dancing performance into a collection of street-tough urban uniforms modeled by every woman.

The show was a performance of its own kind, with models of every age and size (shaved heads, graying locks, wrinkles and all), ready to rumble in their Rick Owens power uniforms.

Curve-disguising smock dresses, coats and all-in-one jumpsuits brought to mind sports pinnies or jerseys. Only the materials were supremely luxe--matte crocodile, felted cashmere, even fur. Abstract-looking black-and-white embroidery suggested an haute spin on schoolyard graffiti, while other details were beautifully sculptural (high funnel necks, scarf ties and oversized hoods). The cool-as-hell, stretch leather, over-the-knee sneaker boots worn with every look added to the athletic vibe.

Rather than having models walk on a raised runway, Owens had them walk among the audience, doing figure eights around benches of well-heeled fashion folk as if they were about to start something.

The same models came out multiple times in the same outfits, at a faster clip each time, as if they were intentionally trying to mess with us. They were a force to be reckoned with, all right. Owens wouldn't have it any other way.


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