Balmain Ready To Wear Spring Summer 2014 Paris

After last season’s exaggerated show, which was embellished to within an inch of its life, designer Oliver Rousteing eased off on the ostentations this time around.  Not to fear loyal Balmain fans, there was still plenty of shimmering sequins on display and one or two football shoulder jackets. But overall this was a more controlled collection, and it was much improved because of it.

To the era defining songs You Spin Me Around by Dead or Alive and The Reflex by Duran Duran the designer took the fashion world on a whimsical trip back to of the styles, textiles and shapes that defined the 1980s. He did it with just the right amount of exaggeration to the proportions and design details so that the distinctive elements of the decade looked rejuvenated and relevant once again.

Top on any buyer’s list are going to be the bomber jackets. Their rounded cocooning shapes had a street easy to them but they all were expertly worked into patchwork denim, houndstooth, quilted leather or encrusted with shimming silver beading. The quilted leather pieces in the show were clearly an homage to Karl Lagerfeld during those supermodel dominated early days at Chanel. The gilded buttons, wide gold chain link belts (think Aurélie Bidermann) and the padded leather amplified just enough to keep it this side of a caricature. The same goes for the black pinstripe overall dress and jumpsuit, the delineation done in glossy gold.

Another winner within the Balmain design aesthetic was the show’s flouncy ruffled skirts. Still well above the knee, but not as super short or as tight as in the past, the volume gave a pleasing release to the formfitting tops of the piece. There were also some expertly done beadwork embellishments in this collection, but that has become pretty much par for the course at a Balmain show.

It’s nice to see Rousteing reining it in this season. A little self-control is always a good thing.