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Natasha Matila-Smith on dicks: Dick Owens – Stunt Queen

Part Four

It might not be immediately obvious but as part of my own creative fulfilment, I’m very keen on fashion.  I get the kind of adrenalin from buying clothes that you would from having a crush on someone so for me fashion and lust are intricately intertwined.  I get a kick out of fashion based art practices and I have my favourite t-shirts that I will never throw away despite holes, stains and thinning material.   Now I’m done with stating my love of fashion, I have a special place in my heart for fashion designer Rick Owens.  That guy is really good at fashion dick.

You may have seen headlines last week like ‘Penises on the runway – a flesh flash too far?’ and ‘Rick Owens Models went commando down the runway’.  Rick Owens’ Menswear Fall 2015/2015 collection caused some controversy in the form of ‘free-balling’ models aka pantsless male models, apparently leaving some front-rowers shocked at unexpected full frontal nudity.  It is from this collection that Rick Owens has earned a new nickname – ‘Dick Owens’-which I find to be both hilarious and accomplished.  The issue I’m having with this controversy is, why is this event even controversial?

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Rick Owens is a good stunt Queen.  The strategically placed holes and raised hemlines are a good conscious ‘fuck you’ to the haters.  Again though, this non-issue still being an issue in 2015 is something to be concerned about.  Female models are quite commonly fully nude and no-one will acknowledge this unless their bodies don’t fit a certain mould.  Last week there was a news story about Instagram removing a photograph of two female models wearing bathing suits because their pubic hair was visible.  Male ‘snail-trails’ don’t seem to be newsworthy.  Yet another case of gender discrimination and industry double standards.

I partook in quite a few life drawing classes and initially I chuckled when confronted with nude bodies in real life outside of a personal context.  About five minutes into the first lesson though, I began to see the body in terms of drawing – lines, shapes, bones, angles, shadows and highlights.  The class featured two different models – one, a middle aged muscular but rather short man and the other, a soft bodied middle aged woman with a ‘Mom’ haircut.  I was actually more shocked by the woman’s haircut than anything else I’d seen.  Body parts were exactly where I had imagined them and where I’d experienced them on my own body.  Nothing really to be shocked about.  So, why then are penises so shockingly discriminated against in the World?

With that question now posed over and over again, I think this quote I found on a blog earlier kinda somewhat answers this question.  “…Owens quite literally stuck a cock in the face of the fashion conglomerates, exercising an irreverence and cheekiness that few other designers could get away with. It was a powerful gesture – even in flaccid condition – and one that could be start to an entirely different men’s fashion week. Ballsy.”

Natasha Matila-Smith

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