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Rick Owens Sent Human Backpacks Down His Spring 2016 Runway

The designer drew inspiration from both sisterhood and motherhood for yet another deeply unorthodox presentation.
A look from Rick Owens's spring 2016 collection. Photo: Imaxtree

A look from Rick Owens's spring 2016 collection. Photo: Imaxtree

Season after season, Rick Owens's runway shows can best be described as something out of a particularly eccentric Stefon sketch from "SNL"'s Weekend Update. Owens — who first studied fashion design in Los Angeles before moving to Paris — certainly doesn't hold back from presenting unconventional (and at times, unsettling) elements alongside his drapey, lightweight clothing. From exposing his male models's bare, swinging penises to trading traditional models for an entire step dance team, both his men's and women's presentations pair performance art with the garments he creates. And at the tail end of a long and exhaustive Fashion Month, his Paris Fashion Week time slot certainly brings the anxious anticipation to its show-goers, if only to answer the question: "What could he possibly have come up with this season?" 

On Wednesday, Owens showed his spring 2016 collection with his usual tricks up his sleeve — though this time, the show's antics were more full-bodied than they've been in the past. In 11 of his 42 looks, Owens harnessed another person onto a walking model's back or front to create the illusion of a human knapsack (which, of course, is a Stefon joke in and of itself). But if we've learned one thing about Owens's seasonal stunts, it's that he has a reason for everything he does. 

For this spring line, the designer drew inspiration from motherhood and sisterhood, as well as nourishment and regeneration, which his show notes describe as  "women raising women, women becoming women and women supporting women — a world of women I know little about and can only attempt to amuse in my own small way." It was rather literal, then, for Owens to place some models' heads atop other's groins, a detail which puts his entire catwalk into an almost endearing and beautiful (or simply, less disconcerting) perspective.

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While the concept of "sisterhood" has now become a popular theme — movement, even — in pop culture, it's safe to assume that Owens's interpretation brings the notion to a fever pitch. Never did we think that Owens and Taylor Swift's sequin-wearing, pie-baking girl squad would have so much in common, but alas: Owens's shows are always full of surprises.