Oh, Olivier Rousteing, with your trend-busting ways and A-list front row and a soundtrack that mixes pieces of opera with Fall Out Boy, Maroon 5, and Mary J. Blige, you just had to go and create a show that actually woke people up and gave them something to discuss other than the hair color of a certain popular pseudo-celebrity for whom your styles seem to almost be specifically made. A long opening sentence for a long 54-look show.
Right out of the box we could tell this was going to be a show that stands apart from anything else we’ve seen in Paris to this point. There was a more upbeat atmosphere, that certain anticipatory electricity that comes with an audience excited by what they are about to see. All the big names were on the front row, including a couple perhaps one might not have expected. The crowd was exceptionally chatty, and unusually friendly, something we’re going to chalk up as much to the mid-afternoon show time as anything. Everyone was ready for this Balmain show.
Then, from the very first look, Rousteing dished the excitement with a gold, pleated jumper with full hips and flared legs that seemed as though he had a certain celebrity in mind. So much for the dark palette and tight-fitting looks we’ve been seeing from everyone else in this fashionable city. Rousteing’s entire collection is full of color and designed for a woman who has plenty of curves and knows how to work them.
What he’s done, of course, is to base this Balmain collection on some 1980s nightclub where Madonna was a frequent guest. Broad shoulders, wide belts, high waists, long streams of glittery fringe, sheer lace, and more jumpsuits than was ever found in Elvis’ closet. There were harem pants, off the shoulder cocktail dresses, Lurex, lamé, and oh so very much color to the point that it managed to clash on a couple of occasions.
Don’t look for anything office appropriate out of this Balmain season. For that matter, I’m not sure there’s anything here to be worn while the sun is shining. This is almost entirely a collection intended for going out, being seen, and causing a bit of a commotion, which again, fits the lifestyle of some of those on the front row.
So there’s not necessarily much here that fits a Midwestern lifestyle. At least Rousteing woke up this Paris crowd a bit with a collection that gave the eyes a bit of a challenge. We’ll hope others follow suit.