Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
When photos of Rick Owens spring/summer 2014 collection hit the internet yesterday, many commenters were puzzled. The show featured a diverse—both racially and in terms of body shape and size—cast of scowling, angry looking women.
As style.com reports, the women were steppers that Owens had cast from four US sororities: the Washington Divas, the Soul Steppers, Momentum and the Zetas. The scowls were "grit face," an expression "intended to intimidate the competition." Of the performance, Owens told press, "We're rejecting conventional beauty, creating our own beauty." And it was beautiful, as well as formidable and quite intense. Blogger Susie Bubble described the show as, "one of the most provocative and pertinent statements I've seen" while fashion critic Robin Givhan seemed suitably impressed, writing, "It was impressive to see a sea of mostly African-American women at a time when the lack of diversity in fashion is in the news. But more important than the color of their skin, the women stood out for their individuality."
To really appreciate the show's energy, however, you have to watch it—photos do not do the steppers justice. The entire thing, captured on video by Vogue, is after the jump.