Season after season, Rick Owens presents collections that challenge our notion of what clothes can be, collections that are nothing short of whole new visual universes. They feature exaggerated plays on proportions that reframe and make us reconsider the look of the human body: extrawide A-line men's pants meant to mimic the shape of a gown or the plinth of a Brancusi statue (since AW16 'Mastodon'), oversized protruding pagoda shoulders in an uncomfortably organic shape (AW20 'Performa'), metal-bar structured pieces that stand apart from the body paired with structured 'fins' along the sides of trousers that distort and bend in motion (SS19 'Babel), or even the sculpted and layered hoof dunks that masks whatever shape our feet actually are (SS11 'Anthem'). Then there are the bespoke materials and treatments that are so extremely raw and extravagant that they look extraterrestrial: cashmere coated with a perforated plastic membrane reads as leather with pores (from AW18 'Sisyphus'), or the bold baby blue dyed leathers that wrap models in an alien second skin (from AW20 'Performa').
Spring 2020 maintained all these avant-garde leanings, with pearlescent coated cottons and staggeringly tall heels for both men and women. The only difference here was that Rick Owens' Spring 2020 collections were the first to draw upon his Mexican heritage, although his interpretation according to Vogue was abstract rather than literal. Rick Owens found a window by way of Josef and Anni Albers's study of Mexico, in the way historical built forms were filtered through a lens of Bauhaus modernism. Both the geometries and design tenants of the Albers's practice can be found in these Megatooth laced boots from SS20. They reflect a sensual purity of material, showcasing the supple grain of the cow leather upper, the natural earthy tonality of the cotton lace, and the monolithic and geometric cast quality of the rubber sole. The statement 'mega-lacing' that wraps the boot captures both the visual and conceptual qualities of the Albers and Bauhaus. With the same attachment points as the Pentagram laced boots from AW17, the new lacing style exercises the Bauhaus principle of exploring "variation within specific boundaries." The way the lace is woven over and under itself to create a dimensional, wrapped shroud mirrors the structure of Anni Albers' modernist weavings, and when one considers the lace as line and megatooth block sole as solid rectangle, the shoe becomes a nod to the dense, pure, geometric drawings of Josef Albers, which themselves are inspired by the dense visual repetition found on built structures dotting the Mesoamerican landscape.