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Fashion Designer Rick Owens Uses Step Dancers During Runway Show at Paris Fashion Week… Controversial or not?

Fashion Designer Rick Owens Uses Step Dancers During Runway Show at Paris Fashion Week… Controversial or not?

Everyone’s been talking about the Rick Owens Spring/Summer 2014 runway show at Paris Fashion Week last week. Huffington Post called the show “perhaps the biggest celebration of racial and body diversity in any of the Fashion Week presentations this season”. Daily Californian stated that “this wasn’t a fashion show as much as it was a performance piece.” They went on to say that the designer launched “a guerilla attack on the state of the fashion world, skewering the unhealthy, racist concepts of beauty that have plagued the institution for too long.”

The theme of his show was not solely focused on clothes. It was more about the movement and action taking place on stage with the models he chose. He used female step dancers, most of whom are African-American, to grace the runway, in a show that was so different and some say, innovative.

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The designer sought out steppers from college sororities all over the U.S., including Maryland, Washington, D.C., and the Los Angeles area to come to Paris and perform in this show.

“We’re rejecting conventional beauty, creating our own beauty,” Owens told Styleite.com of his casting choice.

The thing that has been most talked about is the ‘angry’ faces that the dancers had during the show. Some say the faces looked menacing and was reinforcing the stereotype of the ‘Angry Black Woman”. Some also said that it was a poor attempt at trying to show diversity on the fashion runway.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the dancers said that the designer’s direction for their performance in this show was “vicious’. Owens told the Los Angeles Times that he has known about step dancing for a while and thinks of it as American art. He describes stepping as kind of a “brutalist” form of expression. That perhaps explains why he told the model-dancers to look angry while performing.

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The one thing we noticed?  The steppers were all body types and sizes. And they danced so confidently. They exuded power in every step they made. Mr Owens took a risk with his show, not only having step dancers performing, but also not being afraid to have ‘models’ of different sizes and shapes gracing the runway for his show.

What do you think? Check out the video below and see for yourself and leave us a comment. We’d love to hear what you think.

To check out Rick Owens’ website, click here.

**Photo Source: Style.com

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