Style & Fashion


Zoolander is real: how Rick Owens outdid his penis scandal

The Daily Beast

June 25, 2015

Jera Diarc, his model agency boss said, was traveling back to Germany after causing quite the scandal on the Parisian catwalk, Thursday.

“I never want to see him again,” Eva Gödel, of TIAD, told The Daily Beast.

True to her word, she had removed the 31-year-old model from her agency’s website.

It is very hard to top penises, peeping out like scared woodland creatures from behind roughly cut tunics.

That’s what got designer Rick Owens headlines earlier this year when he presented a catwalk show which featured male models—including Diarc—showing their flaccid, in some cases walnut-y, doo-dahs off for the world to see.

But today Owens outdid that publicity firestorm, even if—as he claimed afterwards—it wasn’t his idea.

Midway through Owens’s spring/summer 2016 men’s show, Diarc, a much-beloved muse with hair that goes this way and that—as if he has been dragged through a hedge, set upon by crows, then put in a wind tunnel, then trampled by antelope—held a banner aloft which read, “Please Kill Angela Merkel—Not.”

One imagines the assembled fashion critics tip-tapping their iPhones to find out who this Angela Merkel was—a designer who had done something so terrible to a hemline it merited execution, perhaps?

But no: This, as the real-life cast of Zoolander soon discovered, was—holy cow—the actual German Chancellor.

So then the question was: what the hell was the stoned-looking Diarc referring to, unless it was a very oblique reference to Merkel’s key position in the tense talks around the cost of keeping a bankrupt Greece in the Euro.

The Daily Beast has reached out to Diarc for comment, with no reply as of present.

Naturally, chaos soon reigned—on a day when Paris was already in a day of uproar over cab drivers violently protesting Uber’s presence in the city.

Owens told Women’s Wear Daily he was furious at Jera’s polemical hijack.

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

An official statement from Owens’s team followed, 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 i-D backstage that it was not his idea. “He’s been like my male muse for the past 12 years or something and I think he just felt comfortable enough to do something in a show, and I’m furious. The irony is that the collection (titled Cyclops) is about male aggression and protesting.”

As Gödel told The Daily Beast, with a mirthless laugh, “Oh, well. Bad day.”

Gödel—who found Jera, like all her models, on the street—added that she could only ever book Diarc for Rick Owens.

“He was always late, never on time, I always knew he was crazy. Rick was the only one who would book him. Rick was supportive of him, even if he was always late. There is no way I ever expected him to do anything so stupid. I am surprised and angry. It was so disrespectful to Rick, and the team who worked on the clothes and show. I was shocked and Rick was furious.”

Did Gödel know what Diarc’s sign meant?

“No, I have no idea. Maybe Jera was drunk. It wasn’t an intelligent statement. It was idiotic. I have no idea. I don’t understand. It is so sad this is what people are talking about, when they should be talking about Rick’s show.”

Although Gödel said she had got the model out of the show after the fracas which followed—she did not see Mr. Owens punch Diarc—and paid for his travel back to Germany, she now wanted “to distance myself” from Diarc.

Both she and Diarc can take heart from what her agency’s name, TIAD, itself stands for: Tomorrow Is Another Day.