PFW: BALMAIN S/S 2015

Maybe I’m just a bit punchy from watching so very many fashion shows, but … haven’t we seen this Balmain collection before? Maybe not in exactly the same colors, but … well, let’s see …

Large grid pattern composed mostly of leather, sometimes by itself other times over fabric … check.

Tuxedo jacket styling with a cut out twist at the navel … check. Actually, this is a McQueen silhouette, but I’m sure Olivier is just “borrowing” it for the season. Again.

Broad belts, sleeveless riffs on leather moto jackets and lots of stripes … check.

So, here’s what we do: take last years spring/summer 2014 collection, switch up the colors, and just re-package the whole thing. Ladies and gentlemen, this collection is wholesale re-run.

The repetition in this collection is so severe, that Karli Kloss appeared twice in the same outfit with the only change being a multicoloured jacket tossed over it the second time! Do we really need this? Does anyone really need this?

The whole mess raises a couple of important questions. The first is whether the hectic schedule today’s designers are expected to keep is stifling creativity. Gone are the days when a designer could spend their time focusing on just two collections a year. Now, with the emphasis on pre-collections, plus special collections, and men’s wear collections, the number is at about ten. How in the world can anyone possibly be expected to be creative in such an exhausting environment? Some have even suggested that such a grueling pace is the reason Jean Paul Gaultier is hanging up his ready-to-wear line after this season.

One might also want to consider the value of whole ready-to-wear collections that, like this Balmain set, are totally designed for special event wear geared toward the club-hopping set. So many sequins and sparkles with deep, plunging necklines, provocative cut outs, and sheer panels and skirts has limited use to a limited audience. Is it possible to produce such fodder season after season without becoming creatively discouraged.

We can only guess why Olivier Rousteing chose to make this a leftovers from last season collection. We know he’s a better designer than what was demonstrated on the runway this afternoon. We saw better in his fall/winter collection.

Perhaps if the label stopped focusing on the petty whims of the front row …

Photo credit: Monica Feudi

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