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Few fashion designers have so successfully created a world as fiercely idiosyncratic as Rick Owens’. Serving up dark, riotous glamour and challenging orthodoxy are his line of business – and he’s been doing it majestically for almost 30 years. Today, OWENSCORP, the incongruously corporate-sounding business he and his longtime partner Michèle Lamy have built, generates annual revenue in the hundreds of millions. Along the way, he’s attracted the kind of devoted (read: obsessive) global following more commonly reserved for scaled-up cultish pop stars. To his fans, Owens’s domestic arrangements, cultural tastes, and lifestyle choices (psychedelics, enthusiastic clubbing, committed body transformation) offer a kind of portal into an all-encompassing world. Buying his clothes, it seems, is the entry-level ticket to exploring it. Now aged 60, Rick Owens shows no signs of slowing down. Au contraire. His recent shows and collections – both during and since the pandemic – have arguably been his most masterful, most emotionally charged, and, at times, most conventionally (and deliberately) beautiful. With all this swirling in our minds, System was keen to have a closer look inside the Rick Owens story, and take stock of the sometimes turbulent rise, enduring aesthetic, and endearing honesty that are part of his otherwise guru-like presence. Who better than confessional conversationalist Tim Blanks to spend the day in Paris in Rick’s intoxicating company? They discussed life and death, friendships and family, kinks and conquests, mothers and muses.