Olivier's army of Balmain boys stormed Paris with a show that was everything we know and love about Rousteing's taken on militaria, excess and embellished opulence.
French fashion house Balmain keeps with its signature military/cavalry-inspired theme for this year’s Fall collection, not unlike its recent collaboration with H&M late last year. Also synonymous to the label, the collection sports a bold yet simple color palette of mostly red, blue and black — imprints from the brand heralded and appropriated by Creative Director Olivier Rousting. While the season commonly depicts layers and of course outerwear, all found within the range, the standout pieces for Fall 2016 from Balmain includes a comeback of the knee-high boot, and military jacket and coats, as well as the use of classic patterns such as checks and stripes. View the gallery to see the full collection from the runway.
As for the show: It was, well, definitive Rousteing Balmain. Within that context—and that is a key caveat—it was a goodie. Imagine some long-lost, isolated 19th-century statelet in which someone had used a time machine to travel into the future and bring back Liberace and drop-crotch pants. We were there. Rococo met Fabergé met War and Peace met Versailles met Claude Montana met Dune met Highlander, in a dizzying display of resplendence pitched at the aristocracy of money. Soldier-wise, Balmain conscripted a crack squad of sharp cheekbones: Baptiste Giabiconi not at Chanel? Jon Kortajarena, Sean O’Pry, Chico Lachowski, Lucky Blue? This was the masculine counterpoint to Balmain women’s Naomi-Cindy-Claudia campaign.
Rousteing says that those who snipe and gripe that his clothes don’t reflect reality stupidly miss the fact that enough people buy Balmain to bankroll that level of casting, so it must reflect reality. Perhaps the point is that Rousteing’s talent is to have woven a fantasticunreality, one that ignites the fantasies and desires and financial outlay of his customers. And that’s fashion. Three little girls, perhaps 7 years old, were at the show today: They said it was their first. Afterward, they appeared to be stunned, in rapture. You can’t have everything, Olivier: So don’t sweat the small stuff. Love the army you have.