If, dear reader, when in London and walking down Oxford Street, you spot what looks like a giant Rick Owens towering over the double-decker buses and waving what looks like a giant Olympic torch, fear not: you are not hallucinating. A polysterene torso of the designer, made by the British sculptor Doug Jennings (creator of the (in)famous statue of Owens pissing) and weighing a humble 1.5 tons, was erected yesterday on Selfridges façade to celebrate twenty years since the inception of the label and the opening of “The World of Rick Owens” project in store.
This comprises four conceptual window designs, inspired by Oscar Wilde’s “Salomé” – a theme chosen by Owens because it reflects his own dark and gender-bending aesthetics and as an homage to London; a 20-piece capsule collection designed for Selfridges (think black jerseys with a bright yellow patch featuring a printed silhouette of the aforementioned statue, a thin scarf with the same print, leather jackets, canvas totes and a spectacular nylon and polyurethane maxi dress); and, perhaps most interestingly, a concept store curated by the designer.
The selection is limited but wonderfully decadent. DVDs include Fritz Lang’s “Die Nibelungen”, a 1923 silent film adaptation of “Salomé” and the expressionist opera based on the ancient Greek tragedy “Elektra”; LPs, Klaus Nomi and Iggy Pop; books, a historical study of the French aristocrat, poet and dandy Comte Robert de Montesquiou, Paul Virilio’s “Bunker Archaeology” that considers the ontology of wartime architecture and a variety of rare art and photography albums (not to mention a Rizzoli tome simply titled “Rick Owens”; there is a book signing scheduled for 13th September); and other objects, Michele Lamy’s wooden “tomb bench” with antler-shaped backrests, art nouveau ceramics by Georges Hoentschel and exquisite silver and bronze tableware designed by maestro himself. The housewares selection also includes Owens’ favourite Diptyque candle – for no apparent reason I had spent months prior to the opening obsessively trying to guess what it would be. (Spoiler alert: it is, perhaps unsurprisingly, Myrrhe).
The most striking feature of the store, however, is not for sale: it is an installation by the veteran of sound and light art Ryoji Ikeda, featuring his signature strobe-lit sequences of geometric monochrome patterns accompanied by an equally abstract electronic soundtrack. Seeing avant-garde art in London’s most popular and frankly rather horrendous shopping street is nothing if not refreshing.
Photos courtesy of Selfridges