‘Subhuman Inhuman Superhuman’ opens at the Triennale Design Museum
Rick Owens’ new exhibition, opening today in Milan, is named Subhuman Inhuman Superhuman, which sounds like a lost ‘90s alternative rock album — possibly Nine Inch Nails? — and I mean that in a 100 percent complimentary way.
Set in the curving gallery of Milan’s Triennale Design Museum, Owens’ retrospective is, much like the designer himself, glamorous and goth and unexpectedly romantic and grandiose. The exhibition features 100 archive pieces and encompasses different aspects of his work, from garments and accessories — mannequins draped in his signature strangely placed material drapes and puffs — to furniture upholstered in calfskin and camel fur.
Hollywood Reporter describes the “gothic theatricality” of the show, which is Owens’ big mood, and the humongous handmade sculpture that looks like a cloud of soot, but is actually composed of concrete, lilies, the earth from the seaside of Venice, and the designer’s own hair. Classic Owens moments are given tribute, from the step dancers in his Spring 2014 collection to the human backpacks of his Spring/Summer 2016 show, where models carried each other down the runway Babybjorn-style.
A pleasant surprise in the show are the tokens that tell the story of his romance with Michele Lamy, who owned popular ‘90s Hollywood hangout Les Deux Cafés. A receipt from Musso & Frank Grill on Hollywood Boulevard and a black-and-white image of the Spotlight Club, a historic gay bar, reveal bits and pieces of their life together.
Meanwhile, in an interview with the Financial Times, Owens described the AW18 designs that he’s currently laboring over in his Paris studio, the soundtrack of his creations being Julie London and 1990s hardcore techno. “My jersey draped pieces are all based on a languid bias silhouette that can be traced back to when I was living on Hollywood Boulevard,” he told the Financial Times. “I keep going back to the 1930s, and I still watch those black-and-white movies every morning. That aesthetic is embedded in me — it’s a patina, like a Hollywood sleaze filter.”
Catch a sneak peek of the exhibition below: