NYFW: PIERRE BALMAIN S/S 2014

My schedule for day two of Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week starts with Pierre Balmain, the youth-oriented line of the famed Parisian design house. With a 9:00 AM start time I assumed that I would have consumed sufficient amounts of caffeine to handle anything the designer might throw at me.

I was wrong.

Rather than the traditional runway presentation, Pierre Balmain went with an exclusive digital show. The music was loud, much more than my ears wanted at this hour of the day, and mixed with a narrative that was barely distinguishable. The styles were punk, urban chic, the kind of things one might expect to see worn by children whose most significant angst is that their parents keep paying the bills even at age 25. Shirts half-tucked, mixtures of leather, lace, and fishnet, and that whole “don’t bother me I’m bored,” look on models’ faces.

Expect people to line up for this collection faster than they would for an all-you-can-eat pancake buffet. This salute to the “rebellious styles of the punk years” may not appeal to old cronies like me, but it hits the youth market right where it lives. There are rock staples of leather jackets, fishnet stockings, and lace blouses. Silhouettes are largely loose and casual, though there are a couple of more concise pieces thrown in for those moments when one needs something really, really form fitting.

If there is a flaw in this collection it is that it works only for those who are excessively thin and trim. While the line will likely be available in larger sizes, those who normally shop for double-digit sizes would be well advised to just stay away. The skirts are short. The jeans are incredibly tight. The fit on some of the dresses will show every pimple on your back. Given the youth obesity issues facing the Midwest, the number of people who can wear these clothes and actually look good is probably less than ten percent.

So, what we have here is a line of clothing that is tailor made for the youth market, the perfect thing to make old geezers like me roll their eyes and cover their ears. There’s no way this isn’t a hit.

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