Model at Rick Owens show reveals banner reading ‘Kill Angela Merkel – not

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A model known as Jera protests during the Rick Owens show on Thursday.
A model known as Jera protests during the Rick Owens show on Thursday. Photograph: Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images

Those at the Rick Owens show at Paris fashion week waited with bated breath. At the designer’s show in January, some models had walked down the catwalk in pieces that revealed their penises, with much debate following.

This time, the controversy didn’t come from Owens himself but from a model towards the end of the show on Thursday. The model, known as Jera, held up a home-made sign to the cameras at the end of the catwalk reading “Please kill Angela Merkel” followed by the word “not”. While the exact meaning of the allusion to Germany’s chancellor was unclear, it seemed to put the Greece debt talks on the fashion agenda. Owens’s reaction has been clear, however.

The designer has been quick to distance himself from the stunt, issuing a statement that said: “This was an independent statement and does not reflect the opinion of the house of Rick Owens.” The designer, who has worked with Jera for 12 years, reportedly punched him after the show and had the model escorted from the show premises. Owens would hope the collection – sleeveless leather jackets, slouchy jumpers, shorts and some headpieces that looked like wind socks made of hair – would be the abiding memory taken away from this season but, unfortunately for him, an ill-phrased stunt threatens to steal its thunder.

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