Rick Owens (born 1961) is an American fashion designer hailing from California, celebrated for his avant garde and subversive eye.
He is married to Michele Lamy. Since 2003, Rick Owens has lived in Paris.
Born and raised in Porterville, California, Owens studied fine arts at Otis/Parsons (now known as Otis College of Art and Design) in Los Angeles for two years before dropping out and taking pattern-making and draping courses at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College leading to work in the garment industry doing knock offs of designer clothing. His own label, begun in 1994 found a following, selling exclusively to Charles Gallay, a pioneering Los Angeles retailer who kept Owens in business for several years. In 2001, he signed with Italian sales agent Eo Bocci Associati for worldwide distribution, and his production moved to Italy.
He began to receive attention when an image of Kate Moss shot by Corinne Day appeared in Vogue Paris, featuring one of Owens’ fitted distressed leather jackets. He showed his first runway collection in September 2002 during New York Fashion Week. The show was sponsored by American Vogue and Anna Wintour, who also featured him and his muse Kembra Pfahler in a spread shot by Annie Leibovitz. At this time, he accepted the post of artistic director at Revillon, the French fur maison founded in 1723. Working and producing in Europe led him to his decision to move from Los Angeles to Paris and show during the Paris collections. He also began his longstanding collaboration with stylist Panos Yiapanis, who has been working with Owens on all his catwalk shows to date. He marked the anniversary of his 10th season in 2009 with a launch of a retrospective limited edition book named ‘L’ai – Je Bien Descendu?,’ which included a number of provocative photographs. A monograph published by Rizzoli will follow in 2011.
In 2002 he won the Council of Fashion Designers of America Perry Ellis Emerging Talent Award. In 2007 he was awarded a Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award and the Fashion Group International’s Rule Breaking award. His look has been described as “glamour-meets-grunge”, but Owens himself says “I try to make clothes the way Lou Reed does music, direct, with minimal chord changes, and sweet but kind of creepy. It’s about giving everything I make a worn, softened feeling. It’s about an elegance tinged with a bit of the barbaric, the sloppiness of something dragging and the luxury of not caring. At Revillon, I felt it isn’t about display but rather giving the woman a selfish pleasure. It is about using sable as the lining under a very humble jacket, the luxury is all hers.” Courtney Love, Bill Kaulitz from Tokio Hotel, Madonna and Zaha Hadid are among the celebrities who have been seen wearing his clothes, and Patricia Field used some of his pieces to create a fashion-forward look for Emily Blunt’s character in the 2006 film The Devil Wears Prada. The opening of his first shop in the Palais Royal, in Paris, also debuted his furniture range as well as his various clothing lines from the younger and more affordable RickOwensLilies and the denim range named DRKSHDW, to the very exclusive fur collection Palais Royal. Since then, stores have opened in New York, London, Tokyo, Seoul and Hong Kong.