Paris fashion week has become the center of a controversial full frontal nudity debate over what was on the catwalk this year. The fashions from Rick Owens may have crossed the line even by Parisian standards, as his line of menswear goes from the new twist on the Pea Jacket, to the male genitalia on display during the show. The media have taken a hard-line on what should be acceptable for male models, and showing a sexual side is not one of them. Some wonder if this hard stance and this amount of disgust would have happened if the models were female. It is an accepted standard in today’s world for women to be viewed as sexual beings, however men are not, at least in public.
Owens has bravely stepped over the accepted standards in fashion and is marching to the beat of his own drummer. The models also should be applauded for their confidence and being comfortable in their own skin, it would take a certain amount of bravery to walk out on that catwalk exposing one’s self like that. Many in the media however made light of it, as if it was a joke, and some even lashed out by making fun of the models personal parts.
As fashion week attendee’s began to get their first glimpses of the naked male chests and then the peep holes showing much more than many bargained for, the ripple effect was felt throughout the venue. First giggles, and then even some outright gasps of outrage were heard as the four models, all male, made their way down the catwalk with their genitalia exposed. No one thinks twice about the Victoria Secret models on the runway in sometimes very shear material covering, or barely covering their woman parts. Parading around in underwear has somehow become acceptable, and a women exposing any part of her body is also a standard that has become acceptable to society. However it seems the stigma of viewing the male organ is alive and well, even in the less conservative land of Paris shoppers.
The fashion line by Owens is called ‘Sphinx’ and it is what many in the industry are calling his best yet. From pea coats with a little flair, like a cape, or given the appearance of being rusty, are what some are focusing on. Owens has stated that his overexposure may be a bit ‘juvenile’ but it has certainly captured the attention of people the world round. His work with the parka and tunics and use of leather and studs were as captivating at Paris fashion week as any other designer, and then some. At 52 years-old he has done his time climbing the fashion industry mountain in the traditional route, perhaps he has chosen a different path to shake up the industry. Shaken or not Paris fashion week has not seen the likes of this type of love and hate of one complete fashion line in a long time. Love it or hate it, Rick Owen’s fashion sense is here to stay.
Opinion by Kristi Cereska