Style | Diary of a Somebody

Rick Owens

At a grand art opening in Paris, the art itself is incidental

Rick Owens

April 02 2011
Rick Owens

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Last night we went to the ArtParis opening in the Grand Palais. It was packed and, of course, looking at the art was incidental. I just enjoy the pageantry and the occasion of being in the middle of a crowd in the Grand Palais. It’s a grown-up mosh pit. What especially delights me is knowing that while the crowd is swanning around under the glass domes, on the roof, swarms of bees are making honey in the hives that are installed there. Beehives are also installed on the roof of the Opéra Garnier. Isn’t that kind of enchanting?

Today, hun and I went to the Musée Bourdelle to see the Madame Grès exhibit being shown there. Good idea, showing all those draped goddess dresses in muted and fragile silk jersey in the middle of all those monumental heroic bronze figures. Carolina Herrera was there as well, looking very lovely and elegant.

The last time we were at the Musée Bourdelle was for the Revillon show I did in 2004. I remember the runway circulation being a bit tricky and a lot of threadbare corduroy and fox. And Suicide doing Cheree as the soundtrack. Oh, and really great alligator boots. Being the artistic director at Revillon, the French fur maison founded in 1723, was a wonderful lark that just didn’t have enough horsepower to last. I learned a lot, though, and looking back, it seems to have given me credibility with Parisians that a young American designer deciding to show in Paris out of the blue might not have gotten otherwise.

The Musée Bourdelle is in the 15th arrondisement housed in the atelier and gardens that Antoine Bourdelle lived and worked in. Mentored by Rodin, he in turn mentored Giacometti. I can’t understand how someone who was doing naked warriors on two-storey-high rearing stallions with testicles the size of your head could sleep in the tiny furniture that furnished the living area that they keep preserved there. It was a drizzly morning and we walked through the shaggy garden with huge mythological figures planted in between the old, randomly planted budding trees. Beautiful.

This morning I did an interview with Gert Jonkers, the creator of Butt magazine, Fantastic Man and The Gentlewoman magazine. I asked if he was aware of a new e-commerce website (that I sell to, incidentally) whose format seemed to echo the format of Fantastic Man. He was aware and not so pleased. I can imagine. But if you propose a style that you think is a good idea and it becomes influential, you’ve succeeded, right? And it might be uncomfortable if you see your reinterpreted idea not up to your standards, but wouldn’t it be excruciating if it surpassed them? Having your authorship ignored would be depressing, but if you’re acknowledged as the originator, a good idea spreading is just inevitable anyway, right? Insistent as I was, I’m not so sure I convinced him.

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