Though his dark and twisted designs may suggest otherwise, Rick Owens is known within fashion circles for his kindness and gentle manner. This Christmas, the designer has decided to donate an ambulance to Croce Blu, a volunteer-led emergency transportation organisation in northern Italy. Unveiled to slasher sound effects and a jaunty Blair Witch Instagram upload, Owens’ van is stationed in Concordia Sulla Secchia in Modena.
It’s not the first time that the designer has got his hands greasy, though. Last year the designer launched a tour bus in collaboration with Moncler. Fitted with chic stainless steel toilets, low-slung mattresses, and austere Bang & Olufsen fittings, it was spartan in a stylish and unforgiving kind of way. Presumably his ambulance will look somewhat different. Less goose down, more defibrillators.
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Founded in 1997 for the purpose of social welfare, the Croce Blu provides urgent transportation by ambulance, dialysis, social services, and at-home health care to local citizens. It’s role in fighting the coronavirus – of which Italy was one of the first European countries to fall – cannot be underestimated. It’s fitting, then, that as the world begins to grapple with new strains of COVID that Owens should decide to show his gratitude in this way.
Carrying out thousands of journeys a year, the Croce Blu relies on donations from the public to survive. “Our story is one of humanity towards others,” the association says. “A determination to succeed where there seems to be no resources allocated, and – why not – a story of community volunteers”. As fashion journalist Tim Blanks noted under Rick Owens’ post, “it’s almost worth having a medical emergency for”.