Model Turns Rick Owens Fashion Show into Protest


A model at the Rick Owens Spring/Summer 2016 fashion show in Paris on Wednesday used his platform on the catwalk to protest against German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The model, name Jera, strode down the catwalk holding a small sign scrawled in black marker that read, “Please kill Angela Merkel.” Underneath that, he wrote: “Not.”

Owens was angry that the model used his show to get political.

“I think it says ‘Kill Angela Merkel’ or something? Is that what it said? I don’t know because it was not my idea,” Owens told Dazed. “He pulled it out and I punched him when he came off stage. He’s been my male muse for the past twelve years or something and I think he just felt comfortable enough to do something in a show and I’m furious.”

As Dazed notes, the protest display was especially ironic in light of the fashion show’s theme.

“It’s about the idea of male aggression,” Owens told the magazine of the show’s purpose. “Whenever I think about men’s collections I always think about the idea of aggression because it’s just part of a man’s DNA and it’s something that I struggle with and I think other men do too. Like, when does ambition and efficiency spill over into aggression? And this model just gave into his aggression, and his balance was off. He became imbalanced. His aggression took over.”

The California-born designer also issued an official statement disassociating himself from Jera’s protest.

“Rick Owens does not claim responsibility for the act of protest by a model at the Spring Summer 2016 show,” the statement read. “This was an independent statement and does not reflect the opinion of the house of Rick Owens.”

The Fashion Law blog points out that Jera appears to have been dropped from TIAD’s official roster of models. The agency had represented the model prior to the Rick Owens show.

Of course, Owens himself is no stranger to controversial displays on the catwalks of his fashion shows; the designer unveiled new styles featuring full-frontal male nudity at his Fall/Winter 2015 show in January.