When Rick Owens brought Zebra Katz into the limelight last year, he not only generously shared his love of the underground, he also produced one of the most fruitful encounters between fashion and music in recent memory. With his new outing for spring 2014, he took his "musical experiments" to a whole new level.
Indeed, while Katz's hauntingly cavernous voice offered a perfect accompaniment to his floor-sweeping dresses, this time around, the relatively pared-down men's lineup (black tank tops or tunics, either zippered or partly see-through, worn with shorts or long fringed skirts) seemed to be conceived as a blank canvas for the rambunctious, wonderfully outrageous act by Winny Puhh, an Estonian metal and punk band he discovered while watching the kitschy Eurovision song contest.
Indeed, how could the clothes compete with the shaman-like lead singer, who appeared in a robe, his face totally hidden behind his long white manes, his voice ferociously blaring in the vast space? What of the two drummers spinning on a rotating contraption, so that their backs were parallel to the floor? And the wild, wrestler-like guitar players wearing sexy short jumpsuits? As the music grew faster, so did the contraption, and as some point, the guitar players were hoisted by a pulley, plucking madly as their toned bodies dangled in the air. One of them apparently had blood trickling down his leg.
Probably the biggest sartorial news was Owens' new sci -fi, thick-soled and heeled sneakers in collaboration with Adidas. Enticing, and an instant must-have. But it doesn't matter if the clothes were upstaged by the prankster rock performance. It was great to see a designer moving ahead by surprisingly poking fun at his dark aesthetic, reminding us of the emotional power of an entertaining, free-spirited fashion show. Milan designers, take note.