THE INEVITABLE: RICK OWENS SHOES

To the average Joe, RICK OWENS pieces are probably head-scratching in their goth-tinged high fashion-ness

By Barbara Costantin

To the average Joe, RICK OWENS pieces are probably head-scratching in their goth-tinged high fashion-ness, but to stylish guys like A$AP Rocky, the designer’s dark, drapey, asymmetrical designs are just damn cool. Owens himself is the living embodiment of his aesthetic, living in a museum of super-stark brutalist furniture, married to his grill-wearing muse Michele Lamy. Even works out (the guy is jacked) in his longline tank tops and drop-crotch shorts. But back in 2008, before his label became the leather-jacket-selling powerhouse it is today ($120- million-dollars-a-year powerhouse, to be exact) Owens launched his “Geobasket” sneaker that Nike thought had more than a few similarities to a certain silhouette of theirs. In fact, the fashion-forward starting called the sneakers by their Nike name: Dunks. In response, the mega-brand reacted the way you might expect, with a cease and desist order. The sneakers were taken off the market, but not before being snatched up by Owens's disciples and sneakerheads alike. So in pure grail form, there are only a finite number of pairs out there. It also means that to get one of your own, you’re going to have to pay anywhere between $800 and $2,500, depending on the condition and colorway. But a grail isn’t a grail if it’s that easy to cop, right?

Don’t get us wrong: minimal white sneakers have a time and place in every closet, but we’re partial to wearing Rick Owens sneakers whenever possible. They’re comfy, they’re cool, and they’re directional (we’re talking chunky rubber soles and seriously oversized tongues). These statement low and high-tops subvert any expectations of what sneakers should be. The Geobasket and Techbasket silhouettes are the brand’s most iconic styles and should be worn with drop-crotch sweatpants or skinny jeans. Focusing on clean designs with a distinct modern edge, the Geobasket is designed with Owens’ love for exaggerated proportions. Constructed with full leather uppers and a full leather lining, they sit on top of a built-up sole unit with an extended toe box and a high stance tongue.

Southern Californian Rick Owens began designing after a two-year stint in pattern cutting school in Los Angeles, where he founded his namesake line in 1994 and remained largely under the radar, with a small but dedicated following in the underground glam rock and grunge communities who prized his slim-fitting leather jackets and destroyed jersey knits. The fashion industry eventually took note of his ability to marry a gothic, distressed sensibility with couture-like sophistication, and in 2001 Owens moved production of his line to Italy and relocated to Paris. With his partner Michèle Lamy, he conceives of collections that marry Classical influences to Brutalist design and an ascetic tribalism. Asymmetrical tunics, sarouel shorts and trousers, elongated t-shirts, and Owens’ signature Geobasket sneakers and frequent collaborations with Adidas present a powerful conception of masculinity at once ancient and futuristic, priestly and profane.

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