The BoF Podcast | Rick Owens on Lessons Learned from the Pandemic

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At the start of 2021, Rick Owens wanted his next show to reflect the universal toll the pandemic had taken on the world. Held at Venice’s Tempio Votivo, a shrine to the fallen soldiers of the two world wars, Owens centred the show around the sombre themes of “anger and darkness.” Despite this ominous outlook, Owens told BoF editor-at-large Tim Blanks in January 2021 that a pivot in political circumstances with the inauguration of Joe Biden gave him a sense of optimism.

On this week’s episode of the BoF Podcast, we revisit this thought provoking conversation with Owens about his Autumn/Winter 2021 collection, his reflections on lessons learned from the  pandemic and his renewed hope for society.

Key Insights:

  • For Owens, constraints can create fertile ground for creativity. “It has been quiet change and I like the idea of working within small boundaries,” says Owen. “I like the idea of doing the best with what you have got.”
  • Owens created his collection when the world was facing growing political uncertainty and instability but he says “one of the most reassuring things [in this world] is that everything usually balances out. We have survived this long because there is just a tiny bit more of goodness than badness. Just enough to keep us surviving.”
  • Owen’s men’s shows in particular are deeply personal. “My men’s runway shows are always about men’s flaws and men’s worst urges because they are auto-biographical,” he says. “When I am thinking about men I am thinking about my own experience and my own experience is very critical and I am always very conscious of my worst urges and where they are coming from.”

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