Kanye Fan: Rick Owens is Ugliest Nightmare Bullshit

Kanye West does a lot to bridge cultural gaps, which I’ve always found admirable. This is a man not afraid to say “Balenciaga is one of the illest lines right now”. Between his multi-genre music, popular blog, and innovative videos he’s practically on a holy mission to bring art, fashion and literature into the lives of his fans. However, change is not always easy.

Owens model channels Laibach

A few days ago the rapper blogged about the new Rick Owens collection. Owens is known for extreme tailoring, using a lot of black materials and being generally spooky as hell. He’s also known for hand-picking divinely alien specimens to showcase his work. This time around at Paris Fashion Week his choices were especially exotic, and Kanye’s fans noticed. Some of the comments his blog post received:

Ahh, growing pains.

As far as I’m concerned, Owens has impeccable taste and these models are top-notch, with potential to fit nicely into both our Preternatural and Alien beauty posts. I adore his clothes and consider him to be one of the best high fashion designers of our time, up there with Gareth Pugh, C.C. Poell and a few select others. It pleases me to see someone with as much much influence as Kanye West sharing this sentiment to some extent. I’m sure he expected a bit of a backlash when he presented images of all those pale, black-clad gentlemen to his public. But do you think he was prepared for this?

Clearly, user gdzhulakidze’s mind was blown to the point of incoherence. He seems genuinely scared and his disdain is palpable. I’d almost say Kanye might have done better with an introductory post before unleashing the Rick upon his followers, but there is plenty of positive feedback to counter the bad. For instance: “No one does black better, except 4 obama… ;)”. Mm. Change is here.

A special thanks to StyleZeitgeist for bringing this matter to our attention.

36 Responses to “Kanye Fan: Rick Owens is Ugliest Nightmare Bullshit”

  1. cherry Says:

    mmmmm… change. we’ll get there. xx.

  2. Nadya Says:

    Ah… Kanye. The man who brought us the term “Squid Brains.” Loved the graphic for his GLOW IN THE DARK tour:

    Neuromancer cover circa 1985!

    But what I really love is Kanye coverage on Dlisted. “He’s so angry that he wants to pop a CAP in a bitch and he did.” At work, I casually refer to the Paramount campaign I recently worked on as “THAT BENJAMIN BUTTON’S SHIT.” I don’t think anyone realizes why I do that, but it cheers me up.

  3. Zoetica Says:

    God I love Dlisted. So. Much.

    Who is Kanye West going to blame for his truly ass-cheek-clenching performance on SNL last night? This shit was first degree murder on my ear drums.

    His microphone probably forged a fake passport last night after this shit, so it could flee the country this morning, because it knows Kanye is coming after it. After Kanye tracks down his mic and screams at it for a good twelve hours straight, he’s going to file a multi-zillion dollar lawsuit against the Auto-Tune bitches for trying to take him down. And finally, Kanye’s going to order his vocal cords into the corner for a time out, because they quit his ass several times during this song. His vocal cords could use a fucking time out, so this isn’t a bad idea.

  4. kc Says:

    Oh noes! We wouldn’t want it to be too DARK or SCARY! You might make them CRY or GIVE THEM NIGHTMARES. Possibly even make them GO CRAZY and DO BAD THINGS.

    We wouldn’t want that now, would we?

  5. Tequila Says:

    “…he’s practically on a holy mission to bring art, fashion and literature into the lives of his fans…”

    On the last day of the Murakami exhibit last year the artist remarked that when Kanye showed up at his studio…he stuck around for HOURS and sent back the album art he did again & again. So I admire his hands on nature…he digs what he digs regardless. So I think it’s less about his fans than it is about crafting his image, ego, and empire. Not in a cynical way mind you but that of an artist who has the means to really do whatever the fuck he wants.

    I like the clothes but honestly would rather the models didn’t do the “overly serious European model face # 251” I get that you can’t have them laughing or being overly animated but its a bit distracting. Hope a filmmaker taps Owens to do costume designs cause it’d be a shame if stuff like this was only seen on a runway.

    The best comment…well the tail end of it anyhow….

    “Very creative and risque but yet maintaining masculinity.”

    Exactly. That’s why I like them. It doesn’t have that sterile or gender free look most stuff like this falls into.

  6. Tequila Says:

    @Nadya…the best thing about that tour was the poster. Everything else outside of the opening acts…redefined the term “Diva”.

    It was like that episode of Gilligan’s Island where they do Hamlet: The Musical and at the end the Broadway producer (played to perfection by Phil Silvers) decides to do the whole thing himself.

  7. Mechangel Says:

    Speaking of preternatural/alien beauty…

    Connie Chiu?

  8. Egon Says:

    Yo, Dawgs! Have ya’ll peeped the new Voldermort line? That shit is straight out tha box, y’herd?

  9. Nadya Says:

    “overly serious European model face #251”


  10. Jennifer dG Says:

    Maybe I’m being overly sensitive, but is it fair to say that designers whose clothes fall into “lots of black” and “spooky as hell” — which I’m all for, mind you — seem to think they can choose only Serious Europeans to model those clothes? While, mercifully, imagery has gotten away from the cheesy, literal vampire thing, pale skin is still used as a kind of visual shorthand to signal one’s aesthetic. I wouldn’t mind seeing a little more diversity in the imagery, you know?

  11. Nadya Says:

    Agree with Jennifer.

  12. Alice Says:

    I don’t usually love the style that Kanye himself models, he’s clearly got some taste in there SOMEwhere if he’s featuring a designer like Rick Owens!

  13. q gauti Says:

    Jennifer, i would like to suggest that perhaps you are being overly sensitive. I’m fairly certain Cloak had black guys walk the runway over the years, not to mention a good number of seriously-geeky Americans. Raf Simons certainly doesn’t mind odd-looking types of every color in his shows. Last season’s Anne Demeulemeester show featured a cast of septuagenarian models, i could go on.. How much more diversity can you expect from shows featuring albino Chinese women?

  14. Mer Says:

    Bless you, Kanye.

    I think my favorite remark in that thread’s gotta be: “I think they hired their models from the Russian set of Bumfights.” Snorted coffee through my nose.

    Yes, it’s all-too-easy to mock the grammar. I’m not surprised that the Stylezeitgeist dandies are having a little “ho ho ho! I just LOVE these comments, don’t yooou?” moment over there.

    pale skin is still used as a kind of visual shorthand to signal one’s aesthetic. I wouldn’t mind seeing a little more diversity in the imagery, you know?

    Jennifer, if you’re being overly sensitive, then I’m on the mega-rag!

    Rick Owens is, as West pointed out, immensely talented. But forgive me…designers who almost exclusively use a bunch of rail thin (well, thankfully, at least a couple of these guys had some secondary sex musculature), blanched dudes with “I CAN HAZ MOAR FIBERZ?” face to present a collection (some of them with sweaters on their heads, or half-arsed monk hairdos) in pure black designs are bound to get some giggles from the non-albino, non-breathatarians out there. Including me. Love the clothes, question the styling for this particular showcase.

    Bottom line, Owens is an artist; it’s his choice to exclusively use emaciated, paled-up fellows to present his collection. Just as it’s my choice to sigh and miss Cloak’s runway shows. That house had a similar vibe/style to Owens’ in many ways, but (by the end at least) they were diversifying the look of their models. It was SUCH a breath of fresh air.

  15. Zoetica Says:

    Mechangel, I love Conie Chiu! So incredibly lovely.

    Alice, I hear Kanye had a whole posse at the Owens show. Perhaps they were style advisers and his look will take a turn?

    Guys, it’s sad – as a product of society I can’t get it up for a high-priced jacket unless it’s draped over something serious and emaciated. I am ashamed. But! Mer! You think this styling is questionable? Check out the hats and, uh, paws? Post-Uggs? from his otherwise awesome winter 07 collection.

  16. Mer Says:

    Awww! Their widdle footses! Have a biscuit!

  17. R. Says:

    Even though the model pictured reminds me of the Reaper vampires from Blade II…I still love Rick Owens’ work. It’s amazing, it’s art and damn it looks good. Makes me wish I was a man. I do agree on the diversifying though.

  18. Mer Says:

    “model pictured reminds me of the Reaper vampires from Blade II”

    Oh god, you’re right!

    (To clarify: I don’t wanna diss the man’s designs. Really delicious, for sure.)

  19. Lolla Says:

    its funny, how people react, when a mainstream designer makes a whole collection based on black fabrics…suddenly all the “alternative” scene loves him and mainstream hates him or is shocked….
    The collection is good, but nothing out of the ordinary, people should realize that…when judging (and I mean either way positive or negative)

  20. Tequila Says:

    “…Guys, it’s sad – as a product of society I can’t get it up for a high-priced jacket unless it’s draped over something serious and emaciated…”

    That’s almost sounding like a dare! Citizens of the world let us band together and show this young lady what’s she missing out on shall we?

    We can start a flickr group titled…”Non Serious Non Emaciated Men In Expensive Coats” or N.S.N.E.M.I.E.C for short. You will see the light Zo! I promise…even if we gotta go all Clockwork Orange on ya.

  21. q gauti Says:

    Lolla, maybe the point was a touch elusive there – I’ll volunteer some clarification. Rick has been very consistent in his aesthetic over the 15 or so years that he has been putting his work out there, usually without much popular interest. He did manage to develop a stark visual lexicon, but notice and acclaim in any measure have come to him far more recently. I remain unconvinced of him falling under anyone’s definition of mainstream – industry people & editors singing praise doesn’t amount to much when the price points keep matters very ..niche appeal.

    This, most recent offering is actually kind of extraordinary if you’re familiar with his oeuvre – heavy emphasis on structured, tailored pieces isn’t anything he dabbled in before. or rather, it didn’t look all that convincing when he tried. The underlying aesthetic and elements are nothing new, and I’m glad to see it that way – at least I know to whom my winter wardrobe budget is going.

    Out of curiosity though, i’d like to know whom you’d consider to be extraordinary in output that is out of the mainstream. Perhaps I really am missing out on something remarkable here, and would appreciate it if you had something to share.


  22. Samantha Says:

    Let’s all start taking fashion advice from a man that goes onstage with blinking LED hearts pinned to him, fans say “Dawg” on a regular basis, and whose posse walks around looking like hip hop drones that just graduated clown college while plastered in hideous LV monograms and those god effing awful plastic hipster sunglasses.

    How bout the runways start sending obese Americans down the runways, draped in McDonald’s grease to appease everyone?

    And on a side note, I found the Comme Des Garcons’ boys much more vampiric than RO.

  23. Mer Says:

    “How bout the runways start sending obese Americans down the runways, draped in McDonald’s grease to appease everyone? ”

    Samantha, I was just suggesting a preference for more healthy-looking male models. Sheath those claws, girl!

  24. Tequila Says:

    @Mer…Aww but I like her claws! How about letting her get a few more scratches in first? ;)

    Here’s the thing though…what exactly IS a healthy male model? We all know the stories and cliches that go with the profession.

    So BEYOND that it seems if they are not rail thin or on the pretty boy side of things they are not too useful for fashion. Then again the muscle boys of other entertainment seem over the top too…reality and healthy seem to not be in the mix.

    What would the ideal healthy looking male model be? This is open to anybody to answer…I’m curious what people would consider healthy looking and unhealthy looking.

  25. BlueAnchorNatasha Says:

    Hmm, dont like Kanye, he may be trying to spread the good, but his attitude really needs adjusting, too pompous. LOVE Balenciaga, not afraid to admit it. I like Owens’ designs and I think his models are appropriate, they may be too much for some, but they compliment his work.

    On another note, as proud as I think a woman should be of her curves, obesity does not belong on the runway. Curves YES, send some curvy, healthy women out there by all means! Fat and unhealthy? No. If youre fat and youre gonna bitch about skinny people while youre shoveling shit in your gob and not doing anything about your health, I dont even want to hear it. The other end of the spectrum is just as bad. Im healthy as can be, but how often do I get shit from chubby+ about my size.
    Actually I got complimented on my small waist today by an Asian woman, in Chinese no less. She used hand gestures and smiled quite sincerely. No idea what she said, but it was pretty cool regardless.

    Ive reached the rambling point, and Kanye’s fans are buggin’ in this post.

  26. Zoetica Says:

    Tequila, I still think slapping an “Unhealthy” label on someone because of their size – whether too small or too large by the labelers’ standards – is not the way to go unless we’re talking anorexia/obesity. I also happen to think most of the models in this show look quite fit and fed! I bet this guy, for instance, could kick all out butts without so much as a hair out of place.

  27. Mer Says:

    Right, he’s the one I was talking about when I said “thankfully, at least a couple of these guys had some secondary sex musculature.” But he’s an exception, not the norm for that particular group of models, no?

  28. Tequila Says:

    @Zo…”…Tequila, I still think slapping an “Unhealthy” label on someone because of their size – whether too small or too large by the labelers’ standards – is not the way to go unless we’re talking anorexia/obesity…”

    True but that does seem to be the norm. I’ve never looked to fashion for reality so the state of ANY model has to be taken with a grain of salt. They serve a specific purpose and in the case of print ads are heavily manipulated anyhow. It’s fantasy more than it is reality…

    As far as the picture. Maybe. In the age of so many make up effects I don’t know what to believe.

    What I’ve more of an issue when people use this a measuring stick against themselves. As far as obesity goes…are we talking 500lbs shut in or someone with a few extra pounds? By traditional standards and tests…who isn’t obese? While it HAS been proven many are obese beyond those traditional tests and are unhealthy for a wide range of reasons…there is a danger in going too far with “healthy imagery.” Regardless of what one does, eats, or wears certain body types remain…and while you and most here know the difference between curvy and obese…fashion doesn’t really seem to care about that difference. At all. At least not to the level we’re taking about here.

    Ready to Wear collections and labels seem far more accepting if nowhere near as experimental as the designers mentioned above.

    And for the record…I could TOTALLY take that guy…I may not look it but I’m wiry and know many deadly martial arts moves thanks to hours upon hours of japanese anime.

    Ultimately I still prefer my Noir heroes of yore with their paranoia. heavy drinking, smoking, and taste for dangerous women. That’s healthy living to me and those outfits would be great updates to the standard suit and raincoat.

    Plus thanks to hundreds of WWII documentaries the chiseled, clean cut, pale, and somewhat stylized European male look causes me to twitch uncomfortably. ;)

  29. Nadya Says:

    One of the reasons why we chose Selene Luna – in particular, a fashion image of Selene, not a portrait of Selene – for our Issue 02 cover is that we want to combat the idea that beauty and fashion should be “owned” by any one particular group. As Margaret Cho says in our Issue 02 interview, “beauty is a choice” – either you see it all around you, or you decide to only see it in a tiny percentage of the population. Every day I struggle to alter my perception beyond what fashion magazines have taught me is beautiful since I started reading them at age 11. That doesn’t mean I’ve given up my “art appreciation” for the Platonic fashion images I find on Haute Macabre, but I think it’s important to take them with a grain of salt. I think that the goal of alternative fashion, beauty, culture, lifestyle, whatever – is to actively train yourself to transcend the kind of preconceptions that have been drilled into your mind since you were old enough to internalize mainstream messages. This applies to all fields, but in the context of beauty and body image, the famous Dove Onslaught commercial comes to mind:

    (Yeah, I know Dove is owned by Unilever, the same company that owns Axe, but this is an extremely powerful little video montage nevertheless.)

    So I think that when people make statements like “fat people don’t belong on the runway,” they’re not trying. I think that if you have any any interest in truly seeing the world in a way that’s more primal and less saddled with “learned” baggage, you have to go there. You have to try – you owe it to yourself. Not for the sake of “being PC,” but to truly flex your mental muscles and deprogram yourself. Gaultier went there. Erwin Olaf went there, in a way that I thought was extremely sincere. And, of course, artists like Rubens went there effortlessly centuries ago, before the advent of the beauty industry as we know it. So – why not go there? What do you have to lose?

  30. Krazmo Says:

    They look like stage 1 Guild apprentices to me.

    I like it.

  31. Lolla Says:

    q gauti …first, I did not mean it just a comment towards Rick’s deesigns, but an observation in general…

    As for your chalenge…;)
    …just to name a few designers I consider mainstream, but more avantgarde…or interesting…
    Bora Aksu (especially his older collections)
    Junya Watanabe
    Antonio Berardi (altough I think his latest is kinda questionable, but if you check this collection http://www.fashionwindows.com/beauty/antonio_berardi/F041.asp, I think its pretty extraordinary)

    of if you want to get even more typical…Westwood, McQueen the usuals with an interesting cuts, choices of fabrics and ideas. :)

  32. January Says:

    You know you’re reading a great blog when a fashion post inspires this many strongly opinionated comments. Well done.

  33. Kitty Napalm Says:

    I don’t know, I choose to perceive ‘ugliest out of nightmare bullshit, dawg’ as a compliment. I mean I only just learnt that someone telling me I looked ‘major sick, yo’ was apparently a good thing.

    Also I always wondered if human Kanye West fans call each other ‘dawg’, what do canine Kanye West fans call each other?

  34. Lolla Says:

    damn, next time I have to remind myself not to comment before my morning coffee, some letters just wondered around confusing words…but you get the point, I hope…

  35. Zoetica Says:

    January, and I was just thinking about how very lucky we are to have such a thoughtful readership. I’ve been too busy this to participate in this thread as much as I would have liked, but just reading over the comments now is a pleasure. Love you guys!

  36. Steph Says:

    I really don’t like Owens’ designs. It’s not that they’re spooky or too gothy, they’re just bland and black on black to me just screams:


    In both margins.