Lifelong friends and collaborators Matthew Stone and Katie Shillingford discuss the extraordinary Rick Owens story they created for AnOther Magazine‘s latest issue—actor Mia Wasikowska is on the cover.
For all the hyperbole written each season, it is rare for the impact of a fashion show to reverberate long after the clothes have been packed away and the dust has settled. But Rick Owens’ Spring Summer 2014 show – an intoxicating swirl of urban energy that tipped all preconceived notions of what defined “high fashion” on their heads – left every witness breathless, and set the course for AnOther Magazine’s Spring Summer 2014 fashion feature. “I left the venue feeling exhilarated and euphoric,” says AnOther’s fashion director Katie Shillingford. “I was genuinely moved and I wanted to applaud this fearless move and celebrate women of all colours and sizes.”.
What inspired the shoot’s aesthetics?
Matthew Stone: The starting point was a series of group nude photographic artworks that I worked on in 2008. The series is both simple and complex. The set and environment are both painted black to pull focus to the bodies and their entangled configurations. At the time I thought of them almost as abstracts. I thought of the body as a manipulatable gesture, much like an expressive brushstroke within a sculptural frame. It’s always interesting to me to return to the body used in this way. It seems that there are limitless combinations and forms that can be made. When I first started making these types of images I felt like the nudity was not sexual. In a way my feelings have changed now. I think of them of images that have the potential to be erotic, but that function in a different way to the sexual imagery that dominates advertising and pornography. They still discuss power and hierarchy but not in a way that glorifies violence or traditional social hierarchies. For that reason it felt like a relevant project to approach again for this project. I want to create a space for powerful and visceral exploration of the naked body that is both empowering and positive.
Katie Shillingford: I wanted us to shoot images that were somehow as bold and powerful as the show was or at least pay tribute to it. The show was towards the beginning of Paris Fashion Week so it was starting off on a high. I left the venue feeling exhilarated and euphoric, I was genuinely moved and excited that I’d had the pleasure to attend. I think it was very admirable that a designer with such a big brand, who is commercially successful too, had made such a brave choice. There is not enough of that in the fashion industry today, no one is brave enough to take a risk because everyone is worried about selling clothes. Of course selling clothes is the whole point but I do think we’ve lost the sense of ‘show’ and that is a real shame. I wanted to applaud this fearless move and celebrate women of all colours and sizes. That’s also why I wanted to show a lot of nudity, because for me it wasn’t just about clothes, it was about a really powerful message and putting that into print form.
What does Rick Owens‘ work represent to you?
Matthew Stone: I like collaborating with designers who have a creative vision that extends beyond just the clothes. Rick is an artist in that sense. He has built his own world and he finds various forms for its expression. There was a real fearlessness and sophisticated power to the Spring Summer 2014 show, with the steppers, that moved me emotionally and intellectually. On the one hand it was positive, progressive and blew so many ugly and bourgeois constructs out of the water, but on the other it was still powerful and aspirational. There is a tendency, particularly within fashion, to associate progressive politics with a shutting down of fun or glamour. This show was proof that it is still possible to make potent political statements within an industry that is so often politically compromised and a part of the everyday problems that surround us.
Katie Shillingford: Cult.
Read more on the interview with Matthew Stone and Katie Shillingford (they also talked about casting the models and shared their favourite memory of adolescence), and also view the complete fashion story images, here.
Images courtesy of AnOther Magazine.