Paris Fashion Week: Rick Owens and the dangerous-looking duffle coat


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The notion of the superhero is one that’s come up at several of the menswear runway shows in Paris this week, at Mugler’s, Dries Van Noten’s and even Jean Paul Gaultier’s, with his homage to James Bond. (Super spy = superhero, no?)

But the rugged, lantern-jawed hero -- swooping in with his broad shoulders, muscle-hugging body armor and billowing cape -- is nothing but an empty suit unless he’s battling the forces of evil. To be truly super, the superhero needs a worthy super-villain.


Which is why we’ll always need Rick Owens and his army of darkness as a counterbalance -- emerging from the swirling smoke at the top of the runway and clomping across our brain stems in heavy boots.

Though the fall-winter 2011 collection was mostly crammed with Owen’s usual ouevre -- severe man-skirts, voluminous ponchos, face-obscuring turtlenecks and tightly belted coats -- the designer switched it up in the details department just enough to keep things interesting.

One noteworthy new addition was his take on the duffle coat -- one of the season’s more popular outerwear silhouettes -- which included vertically zippered chest pockets (for stowing the fabric toggle straps completely out of sight) and tapered stainless steel toggle buttons that looked more like surgical instruments than garment closures.

Yes, Rick Owens made a duffle coat look dangerous.

That’s talent.

-- Adam Tschorn, reporting from Paris