Human Backpacks at Rick Owens Spring 2016 Collection

Rick Owens has ‘won fashion week’ yet again. The designer whose shows are fast becoming the most talked about presentations during Fashion Weeks (who can forget his previous catwalk with male models wearing clothes with crotch holes cut out? Full-frontal male nudity anyone? Or the time he sent a refreshingly ethnically diverse group of female step dancers down the catwalk, stomping, screaming and shouting while presenting his collection? ‘Winning fashion week’ is just what Rick Owens does.

Mr Owens showcased his Spring 2016 collection this past Wednesday at Paris Fashion Week with another unexpected twist. Owens sent literal human backpacks down the runway with people strapped onto the backs or fronts of models.

Rick Owens Spring 2016 at Paris Fashion Week
Rick Owens Spring 2016 at Paris Fashion Week. Image courtesy of

The designer, who drew inspiration from motherhood and sisterhood as well as nourishment and regeneration said of his use of straps “…can be about restraint but here they are all about support and cradling. Straps here become loving ribbons.” 

With critics likening the “human backpack” idea to Australian performance artist Leigh Bowery’s work,  fashion goers described the show as being one that was “moving,” “disquieting” and “impressive”. It was also “a tribute to female strength” that “suggested the physical labours of pregnancy”. 

In his own words, Owens explained the symbolic meaning behind this performative show:

In the Spring men’s collection which shares the same name (Cyclops), that focussed vision was propulsive and aggressive. When applied to women’s, I see that focussed vision being more about nourishment, sisterhood/motherhood and regeneration; women raising women, women becoming women, and women supporting women – a world of women I know little about and can only attempt to amuse in my own small way…”


Rick Owens Spring 2016 Collection. Image courtesy of
Rick Owens Spring 2016 Collection. Image courtesy of

See a snippet of Mr Owens’ ‘strapping’ show below courtesy of Dazed and Confused.