Style | Diary of a Somebody

Rick Owens

The designer concludes his diary with intriguing revelations about his working methods

Rick Owens

April 04 2011
Rick Owens

Day: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Weekends are usually the time when I can really focus. If the sun is even vaguely out, I’m on the terrace, which is spectacular right now with blooming trees and my favourite wisteria just waking up. The blackbirds that nest in the rose vines under my office window have returned and taken up residence in the same nest they use every spring.

This is the time that I have to spread out all my notes and sketches and edit what happened the week before, and plan for the week ahead. It’s a chance to have the day to rearrange and play with elements of the whole picture instead of working on details and technicalities one by one, one on one, all week. My “sketches” are actually black and white images of toiles that I’ve draped on a mannequin with a few black marker slashes to suggest the line or volume that I’m going to add. I group them on two big tables in my office, along with black and white images of the shoes, bags, furs, denims and furniture.

The reason all the images are black and white is for a pleasing unity and to focus just on shape and silhouette. I’m not the guy you really go to for colour anyway. It’s important to see everything together all at the same time because working on one group stimulates and suggests an idea for another. And I want there to be a consistent thread to all the groups and, even more, through to all the years. I don’t have any images on the walls and when I have a good editing session that lasts all weekend, each group goes into a separate file, and the files are laid out on the tables to refer to all the next week.

On Saturdays, hun usually has her weekly lunch at Galerie Jousse, the gallery that represents the furniture. They review which pieces will be going to which collectors or which pieces need to be ready for what shows that are coming up – Art Basel, the Hong Kong Art Fair, Art Basel Miami Beach, FIAC in Paris, and finally LA in November. Frankly, I love the slower pace of furniture.

After her lunch, she usually goes for a boxing session with her trainer. I’m fairly strong with weights, but if I had to do half of her boxing session, I’d collapse in a silly little heap. She’s very Raging Bull.

Today we gave a brunch with friends that included the editors of the quarterly journal, Some/Things. They do beautifully bound dense volumes stuffed with smart beauty that they usually gain a surprisingly intimate access to. After getting to know them and their integrity, I agreed to give them access to my studios and factories, despite some reservations from my team. Although some of the shy ones avoided being photographed, I’m confident that having recorded this time together will mean a lot to us all later on. And it was done with such affection and respect, it felt like a gift. And it was.

Another brunch guest was Gaetano Pesce, the architect and designer who I’d never met, even though we had a connection: we had inherited Jacek Novak, the talented carpenter who started the furniture collection with me, from Mr Pesce. As a young man coming from Poland not knowing French, Jacek had worked for Gaetano for years until Gaetano decided to move to New York. When we arrived in Paris and needed some work done, Jacek was referred to us and eventually moved in and became part of our family. Jacek has since returned to Poland to open an atelier exclusively producing our furniture, and returns periodically when we start something new. His French is fine now, but mine isn’t. I can’t speak a word, really. I was so horrified that I didn’t pick it up the first week I got here, I just dropped it like a hot brick and never tried again.

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