This month marks the release of the new book Rick Owens, and we got to ask the designer a few questions about his gorgeous (and massive) tome.
This is the first book you've done that is going to be widely available (outside of the limited-edition book for your 10th anniversary, published in 2008). What made you decide to put one out now?
Rizzoli was kind enough to propose it, and creating compositions that I hope are relevant to the moment is what I do. So being asked to make a composition of my compositions was irresistible.
What strikes you first about this book, of course, is its size. How did you decide to create a book of such dimensions (12 5/16" by 18 7/16")?
I wanted there to be a physicality to it—like pushing aside a stone wall to enter a cave. And the physical act of flipping through big pages is one of the most delicious things I know.
There are references in the book to Los Angeles and California and how your clothes fit uneasily with that aesthetic. How much do you think the Rick Owens look is a reaction to that California ideal?
Well, the California I grew up in was in the flat, meth-lab inlands with Hell's Angels wannabes in leather jackets at Motoerhead concerts at night and oppressively hot days where the only thing to do was stay inside in the air-conditioned dark and watch old black-and-white Marlene Dietrich reruns. I think that just about sums me up.
The book isn't so much comprehensive as it is selective. How did you decide what to include and, just as tellingly, what to leave out?
I blissfully deleted my weak moments and exaggerated what I considered my strengths—a wonderfully satisfying exercise that I recommend to anyone.
Which is your favorite photo from the book and why?
There's a Steven Klein photo of [my wife] Michele looking like a 500,000-year-old priestess beginning an elegant seizure that's pretty good.
Interview by Jason Chen