Olivier Rousteing’s first collection as designer of Balmain last season had less tattered-come-glitzy looks that its previous designer injected into the brand making it a must-have for those who coveted a sexy, don’t-give-a-fuck, wild child image. The designer mentioned in an interview that he wanted to bring back some of the house’s couture heritage. With this collection his vision is beginning to take shape.
The collection utilised the beading and embroidery that we have seen the brand do but evoked a more controlled approach compared to past seasons. The first look out was a floral egg-shaped tapestry that was framed by gold pearls and looked like an ornamental wall piece. On a mid-thigh longlseeved dress, the decorative embellishment was like the creamy façade of a building made in the Baroque era. Rousteing was inspired by a Fabergé exhibit at Christie’s and the interpretation produced a tight collection. The latticework on Imperial Fabergé eggs inspired prints on light gold fabric. On a teal leather jacket the same latticework was motorcycle-chic (quilted) but retained an exquisiteness in line with the collection’s reigned-in appeal. Its sharply-cut shoulders, which the brand’s previous designer might have given a less strict and cropped silhouette, displayed Rousteing’s love of tailoring, honed in his previous position as the brand’s menswear designer.
The gilt details and use of leather for which the brand is known were toned down- used as accents instead of entire pieces, or less in shine. While fans of the brand may miss the tattered denim and fabrics gleaming like a disco-ball that its previous designer played up, this collection (still very shiny, mind you), like Rousteing’s previous one, may attract a clientele who appreciates a more polished approach to embellishment.
-Ria de Borja