By Barbara Consantin

Moncler steps up the game this season with an out of this world collaboration.

Teaming up with the American designer Rick Owens, the collection is almost indescribable in its lack of artistic focus. Blending performance art, a photography collection, custom fashion, and yet, none of these. Simply put, it’s a road trip. But the way the aesthetic elements are presented and how the road trip is perceived transforms its players into an unknown artistic vision.

When describing this vision, Rick Owens is equally ambiguous and clarifying: “Moncler approached me about a collab, and I took advantage of the moment to ask them to do something different — to customize a tour bus for hun and I to make a road trip from LAX to Michael Heizer’s ranch in Nevada… Heizer had invited us to see his monumental land art piece city, 48 years in the making… and I hadn’t been to the west coast since I moved to Europe 18 years ago… I was kind of thinking about Joseph Beuys traveling to the U.S. from Germany in the seventies, landing at JFK, being wrapped in felt and taken by ambulance to his N.Y. gallery to live with a wild coyote for 3 days in his installation I Like America and America Likes Me, and then going straight back to Germany the same way”

The reference to Beuys is an interesting one. Seeing nothing of America but the room he shares with a coyote, Beuys wanted to explore the relationship between self and other, man and beast. Owens, like Beuys, is also inserting himself into a culture he is no longer a part of. Now seen more global than American, Owens can take on an outsider’s perspective to create something new and daring. Positioning himself between Beuys and Heizer, he questions whether inherent artistic talent makes art valuable now or the likability of the artist. Is this kind of egocentric development good for the world? Does it matter? Beneath the thin veneer of this project’s casual aesthetic, Owens raises some troubling but exciting questions.

Unique in both conception and execution, this project seems to look forward to the final frontier of the escalating trend of collaborations between different facets of the fashion and art worlds. Perhaps, as content becomes all-important and form fizzles out, the landscape will become completely unrecognizable from where we are now. But Moncler and Rick Owens know that the truth is out there.

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