Olivier Rousteing certainly knows how to stack a deck. For his Spring/Summer 2016 collection, the designer tapped Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Alessandra Ambrosio, Joan Smalls, Doutzen Kroes, and Jourdan Dunn (just to name a few) to walk in his show.
“In this collection, there is such a different casting than what you see on other catwalks,” said the designer backstage. “They are real women. Real shapes. Not hiding. I am trying to show that women are women, and not hiding them with makeup, with weird shapes. Just trying to show that I am proud to have real, strong women with real, strong characters on the catwalk.”
Rousteing is right about that. To wear his designs, a woman has to have a pretty strong sense of self as well as a love of the spotlight. His clothing is not for the faint of heart or the wallflower.
The inception of this collection came with the designer looking back on his first five years at the house. He also just turned thirty last month. Those two anniversaries had him examining where he wanted to take the brand next – how he wanted to challenge himself.
“I am going to push more and more my boundaries, pushing my rules, my limits as a designer and as a human being,” he said.
On the catwalk that drove Rousteing to try new color palette like beige and chocolate, he added ruffles into his designs in a big way and used suede much more extensively than ever before. But that didn’t mean Balmain was abandoning its sexy body con style. There were plenty of form-fitting beaded lattice work gowns, second skin sequined dresses, and sheer paneled cat suits to go around.
But it was those long fishnet motif cardigan sweaters, the suede tops that curved up and over at the neck to open wide at the back, and the flou ruffled skirts that point the way forward for Balmain and the designer who is finally feeling comfortable embracing his own power.