Rick Owens Collaborates with 18-Year-Old Makeup Artist For Autumn/Winter 2019 Show

Rick Owens dedicated his autumn/winter 2019 show to an 18-year-old distorted drag make-up and performance artist, Salvia, whom Owens recently discovered via Instagram. Salvia was invited to Paris to collaborate with Owens to create an outlandish, sci-fi inspired twist to his already otherworldly models.

"This generation has to reject tattoos, and they're doing that through body modification and face work, botox and implants, which is interesting to me,” Owens explained. “It's supposed to offend my generation, and it does. It's wonderful; it's transgressive, it's inventive, it's provocative. Ultimately it's an insult to the generation before which is exactly what it's supposed to be!”

As he was being interviewed, Salvia arrived backstage. "Did you like the show, are you happy?" asked Owens. "I loved it," she says. “She has this shy act, but I don't believe it for one second,” Owens tells us, “because it takes a lot of aggression and the drive to do everything she's doing at only 18, I hadn't done anything close by that age. This is my homage to her. What do you think of glamour today?” he asks her. "You can use glamour in a political way, a way that pushes things forward and challenges perceptions," Salvia explained.

Rick's recent shows have been anger-fuelled displays of resistance in response to current political and social distress and overhanging climate change Armageddon. Now, with the world in turmoil, the independent design force has turned to the optimism found in mutated, modern glamour. “There’s a lot to react to right now, and clothes are often the first step,” he explained. “That’s why these clothes are excessive; they’re a reaction to how the world is right now. We all have to deal with adversity so shut up and put on some make-up.”

“I've been down and gloomy the past few collections talking about decline -- ecological and political -- and I just decided to stop complaining, to shut the fuck up and do the most fierce, glamorous collection I can do,” Rick Owens vents after the show, clad in his uniform of a tank top and platform boots. “It’s a grim, determined, hard, clenched teeth glamour,” he described while grinning with his teeth clenched. The show attendees were transported to a dystopian daydream of provocative glamour that awoke a sense of both desires and repulsions.

By Gabrielle Cantamessa

Gabrielle is a photographer and visual creative based in NYC.