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Rick in the Box: Birkenstock celebrates designer collaboration with Rick Owens during L.A. party

Co-hosts Stefano Tonchi, left, and Michéle Lamy, center, share a laugh at the Tuesday party celebrating the temporary retail space in front of the Rick Owens boutique on La Brea Avenue. At right, the interior of the felt-lined, fur-furniture-filled pop-up.
(From left: Owen Kolasinski / BFA.com, Adam Tschorn / Los Angeles Times)

Thanks to the lush carpet of faux green grass, stacked wooden crates piled to overflowing with fresh produce and a number of sandal-shod guests, the Tuesday night party on La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles could easily have been mistaken for the grand opening of a trendy Silver Lake juice bar.

However, bumper crop of leafy greens notwithstanding, it was nothing of the sort. The party, which unspooled in the parking lot of Rick Owens’ L.A. flagship boutique, marked the opening of a box of Birkenstocks.

The Box is the name Birkenstock has given to the shipping-container-turned-pop-up-shops the footwear brand creates with collaborative partners. And the most recent one — with fashion and furniture designer Owens — opened April 17 and is set to close April 21. The party, co-hosted by W magazine editor in chief Stefano Tonchi and Owens’ wife, Michéle Lamy, was a chance to (avocado) toast the Rick in a Box pop-up and limited-edition collection of collaborative footwear and socks it stocks, available at www.rickowens.eu and www.birkenstock.com.

Among the well-heeled — and in many cases, bare-heeled — guests spotted in the crowd were nightlife impresario (and “Freak Show” producer) Bryan Rabin, actress Lisa Edelstein, stylist Jeanne Yang,TV personality George Kotsiopoulos, stylist and eyewear designer Alex Israel, Sportie LA co-founder Isack Fadlon, photographer/jewelry designer Lisa Eisner and Birkenstock Chief Executive Oliver Reichert.

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One person who wasn’t there? Owens himself, who lives in Paris and hasn’t set foot in the City of Angels for nearly two decades. (“I’m afraid that if I came back to L.A., I’d be seduced all over again and never leave,” he told The Times in a recent interview.)

At left, the farmers market feast from Valerie Confections. At right, a pair of black fur-covered Birkenstock X Rick Owens Arizona sandals.
(From left: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com, Sansho Scott/BFA.com )

But with the farmers market feast laid out by Valerie Gordon (a nice nod to Lamy’s long-gone Les Deux Cafés restaurant, which Gordon managed before launching her Valerie Confections line in 2004) and the lawn-like surface underfoot, the designer — and his take on what the German footwear brand represents — felt very much present.

“I think [the brand is all about the] outdoors, the sun, nudity, sensuality — it reeks of good-natured health,” Owens recently told The Times. “That’s kind of my vibe from Birkenstock. There’s a very natural sexiness there for me.”

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Birkenstock X Rick Owens pop-up, 819 N. La Brea Ave. Los Angeles, April 17-21, www.birkenstock.com and www.rickowens.eu.

adam.tschorn@latimes.com

For more musings on all things fashion and style, follow me at @ARTschorn.


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