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Oct 13, 2022
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Rick Owens gets architectural with Dr. Martens, shoots campaign with performance artist Ron Athey

Oct 13, 2022

Rick Owens sculpted a new footwear silhouette in an architectural interpretation of Dr. Martens, in his latest partnership with the shoemaker, heralded by a campaign with performance artist Ron Athey.

Ron Athey waering the 1918 Hair-On-Leather, Rick Owens X Dr Martens model - Dr Martens

The master designer riffing on 90s club culture and binary-defying wardrobes and attitudes, in this second collab’ with Dr. Martens, focused on two iconic footwear statements - the 1460 and 1918 boots, both built with heightened tongues.

The heavily tattooed Athey, dressed in a black cloak, power gloves and jockstrap, wears both boots in the campaign shoot.

“I have known Ron Athey since the 1980s when our paths crossed in the filthiest L.A. clubs I could find. Ron was the most beautiful creative I had ever seen, and I am afraid I became quite smitten. He became the gogo boy at Club Fuck, which attracted the hardcore piercing techno subculture that was starting to emerge then and eventually, his dancing developed in action which became the performance artwork for which he is known today… I asked Ron to represent this Dr. Martens collab as an example of how elegantly real transgression - and our individual searches for transcendence - can be,” explained Owens in a release.

For this linkup, California-born Owens reinvents the 1460, an 8-eye boot rebuilt in soft, heavyweight black Lunar leather with contrasting, jumbo-thickness pearl laces and extra wide eyelets with a dull silver finish. The black AirWair heel loop is finished with a tonal pearl script, while the welt is punched with the classic yellow stitching.

Rick’s take on the 1918, led to a towering 18-eyelet boot. The 1918 Rick Owens has an upper half entirely constructed of platinum Hair-On leather. Fitted with pearl laces, with eyelets and hook trims in a dull silver finish.

A blend of elegant brutalism and stylish grunge, the two boots manage to cleverly balance both the Owens and Martens DNAs. 

Their latest linkup comes in the wake of an explosion of interest in Rick Owens. The latest Lyst Index ranking of top footwear brands this spring showed Rick Owens rising nine places into the Top 20, with a 68% rise in global brand searches. It also comes after one of the most acclaimed shows and collections by Owens in the recent Paris Fashion Week.

The first instalment of the new Dr. Martens x Rick Owens collaboration begins retailing tomorrow, Friday, October 14, at drmartens.com, rickowens.eu, flagship stores and select partners. Prices range from 679€ for the white 1918 boot, and 349€ for the black 1460 boot.

In many ways, Dr. Martens and Rick Owens is a rather poignant collection.

Recalling Athey’s works of performance art, Owens noted that they, “were created during the AIDS crisis when artists were dealing with that moment of despair with physical demonstration of rage. The most controversial of his works was his printing press performance, during which he cut symbols into his friend’s back, pressed paper towels to them, and clipped the blood prints to a pulley system that hoisted them overhead…  this performance became part of the political discourse and controversy regarding which artworks were suitable for pubic funding.”
“His work speaks to the eternal primitive in all of us and to our shared human experiences - fear, shame, sexuality, mortality and faith - in a timeless tradition of human sacrifice on Mayan altars to a Messiah on cross to childbirth to blood tests to our current war…” concluded Rick Owens.

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