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A male model displayed a “Kill Angela Merkel” sign on a Paris catwalk

AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu
  • Jenni Avins
By Jenni Avins

senior lifestyle correspondent

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Weird things happen all the time at Fashion Week. Today in Paris, at designer Rick Owens’ Spring 2016 show, a male model known as Jera unfurled a sign on the runway that read, “Please kill Angela Merkel NOT.”

Owens (whose shows have included exposed penises (NSFW) and a grimacing step team) rapidly repudiated the model’s antics to a WWD reporter.

“It’s a crazy, rogue, f***ing model that I punched when he came back out,” the designer told WWD after the show, adding: “Please say that I punched him.”

Owens’ team quickly followed up with an official statement saying: “Rick Owens does not claim responsibility for the act of protest by a model at the spring summer 2016 show,” calling it “an independent statement” that “does not reflect the opinion of the house of Rick Owens.” The house also requested that “all media omit or blur this image in the press.”

Owens told Dazed he was disappointed with the action—which to be sure, stole the spotlight from a worthy collection—but said perhaps it was relevant in light of his theme for the season, a protest against male aggression:

“Whenever I think about men’s collections I always think about the idea of aggression because it’s just part of a man’s DNA and it’s something that I struggle with and I think other men do too,” he explained. “Like, when does ambition and efficiency spill over into aggression? And this model just gave into his aggression, and his balance was off. He became imbalanced. His aggression took over.”

(No word on whether the designer gave that interview before or after he claims to have punched the model for his unchecked male aggression.)

Who’s to say whether Jera was upset over Merkel’s prescription of austerity for the Eurozone, or just envious of the German PM’s technicolor robes? Regardless, it’s an interesting case of life imitating art, especially with Zoolander sequel around the corner.

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