“When I started out, my main motivation was to make quiet, elegant clothes that had a lot of restraint and reserve. Because what I saw in the world was a lot of busy-ness. I wanted to do something very serene, gray, modest and kind. Then, all of a sudden, I was doing Busby Berkeley spectaculars…. I didn’t want to get stuck in that role…. But I do think there is a way to present a gentle overall picture with moments of flamboyance.”
That’s what Owens did with his fall 2015 women’s collection. It was stunning from start to finish and very Owens: architectural and sensually draped, with shifts that resembled windblown forms, shaped by jutting hips, winged collars or swirled necklines, and tunics traced in geometric patches of fur, felt or sequins. In a “moment of flamboyance,” dramatic gold leaf makeup daubed on models’ faces highlighted the collection’s Maya inspiration, specifically Frank Lloyd Wright’s Mayan Revival Hollyhock House in Los Angeles, which Owens insists will be his first stop when he travels back to L.A. for the first time in 14 years, sometime in the coming months.
“I wasn’t as obsessed with architecture when I lived in L.A. as I am now,” he explains…
“It makes me a little leery,” Owens says in the SoCal surfer drawl that he’s never lost. “There’s an unsentimental side of me that says I’m just being silly and superstitious, but it does feel significant. And I’d like to suppress that. It feels like an ending, which makes me nervous.”
Yet, he knows that soon L.A. must become a bigger part of his life again. “Dad’s 90-something and mom’s 80-something, and I know they are going to get tired of coming from Porterville to Paris.”
So, he’s commissioned a matte black Airstream trailer for SoCal road tripping in style. “That’s my thing, making cocoons. Very severe and gray and soundproofed cocoons.”
Coming home on his own terms doesn’t sound half bad.
“I think L.A. is a utopia,” Owens says. “A lot of the things people don’t like about it are things I love about it. It’s hard to find your corner, but it’s nice that there is so much space in between everything. If you have something to do and someone to love, then you’re OK.”