Friday, 28 February 2020

Balmain: Power pop à la française




We witnessed a true celebration of French popular culture chez Balmain this season where the entire soundtrack featured Gallic New Wave and pop disco.

From the opening cut by Jean-Jacques Goldman, Envole Moi, a much-loved dance track, the models practically skipped around the giant set of the Espace Champerret, a rather vulgar glass exhibition space built back in the '70s and used as much for wine fairs as fashion shows.

The mood properly set, Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing opened the action with an octet of snazzily cut double-breasted top coats that managed to reek of rich and rock 'n' roll all in one swoop. 

This season in all the Big Four fashion capitals has been marked by ever more voluminous shapes. Rousteing had his own interpretation – a Moorish series of swirling dressing gowns worn with leather corsets and thigh-high leather boots. The same boots, in patent leather, paired with curvy power shoulder boleros, matelassé sweaters or khaki safari jackets piped with leather.


Taking Balmain out of the nightclub and into the paddock, with horsey prints and designs starring centaurs with bows and arrows. Rather too much embroidery perhaps, as the self-editing button was switched off before Olivier changed tack with gutsily tailored suits and power trenches served with leggings.

For sure, the reigning king of Gallic rocker fashion remains a totally accomplished tailor. Moreover, in a season of mass comebacks of veteran models, Rousteing played his part. He finished his show with Esther Cañadas and Helena Christensen, taking a longbow with multiple hops, jumps and low bows. A designer who has rarely lacked chutzpah, loving the applause.

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