Style | Diary of a Somebody

Rick Owens

The designer explains why he failed to bring home the Bacon

Rick Owens

April 01 2011
Rick Owens

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Last night was an art deco auction at Christie’s, and “hun” and I had our eye on a Francis Bacon carpet; one of the few surviving examples of his early decorating career in the early 1930s – it was in faded beiges and greys with a black cubist motif and had the signature partly cut off at the bottom.

I reasoned that Bacon purists wouldn’t be interested and that deco collectors would find it too camp – I was wrong and we were outbid by a mile. And we had already found the right spot for it in the house.

This morning I got the proofs of the book I’m doing with Rizzoli. Big and heavy. I couldn’t bear having academic text as an introduction so it’s just scattered with interviews and a few angry blog critics’ observations. Mostly in black and white, there are sporadic bursts of saturated colour to wake up the reader. It’s very validating to be able to eliminate your mistakes and rewrite history in your ideal way.

There are relatively few photos of “real life” me in it, and about as many as the “unreal” me. Let me explain.

When we first bought the house we live in in Paris some years ago, I had a wax figure of myself made as a personal portrait over the fireplace experience. I felt as if I had to record the moment in a very classical way. I was fully aware of the implications involved – trying to clutch a moment of glory that would be all too brief in a self-absorbed morbid examination of my own mortality. I also had it shirtless and urinating, of course.

Needless to say, it became tiresome seeing it in the house and so I had it installed in the Paris store which was too beautiful and needed a disturbing element. As we opened more stores, it became weirdly essential for each store to have one. London has a severed head on a plinth in honour of Oscar Wilde’s Salome, Korea’s has jets of air making the hair fly around and Japan’s is on the way.

The store in Tokyo has been open for two years but this figure took a while. For some reason, it took the artisans a couple of tries to get the correct facial texture and the right iris size in the eyes. The torso is shirtless and morphs into a distorted monster leg ending in a claw, inspired by Godzilla.

Of course, I’m having it recalled and regret I ever thought of it.

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