Imagine the last moments of civilised life before the roof metaphorically falls in. Grab anything to wear - a downy puffer blanket tied around the shoulders, a duvet cover worn as a cape, a classic black sweater, but with black leather engulfing the lower body.
And then add a headpiece, described by its designer, as "mitres, crowns and veils”, fashioned from faded t-shirts and sweatshirts.
After two seasons emerging from the dark with an intriguing flirtation with sweet colours, Rick Owens has re-joined the world of the cult. The clothes were not so much dark as military drab, with black opposing army fatigue khaki. A few paler shades and a drop of shiny russet stood out against the bunker-grey stone walls in the basement of the Palais de Tokyo.
But any attempt to pick out "normal" clothes, meaning fabrics covering the body in a regular way, was stopped by the headpieces, that were made up from old t-shirts draped over wire frames. In their crazy way, they seemed noble, the wearers walking with heads held high as if they represented the last vestiges of order and grandeur in a world in the grip of an apocalypse.
If rituals are the glue that keeps society together, Rick Owens used the headpieces as signs and symbols. But slowly, the eyes unravelled the clothes, which were not so unwearable, nor as body concealing as was first assumed.
Turn round the upside down sweaters, roll up ultra-long sleeves and wear the puffer jacket as intended, rather than tying the big, fat sleeves around the neck - and hey presto! There were elements of a normal group of protective clothing. There were even small flashes of skin among these cover-all garments as a pair of regular knee-high boots worn with over-the-knee socks revealed the thighs, or bared arms emerged normally from a shroud of black fabric.
You have to be in awe of the Rick Owens philosophy: that each season there must be a message sent out in clothes, however twisted and weird those garments seem at first sight.