PARIS, France — Olivier Rousteing staged the Balmain show in the gilded foyer of Paris' Opera Garnier. Stella McCartney has been doing that too, for ages, but somehow the space never felt as opulent as it did this morning. The room was, literally, blinding with the wrought out gold, stuccoes and chandeliers. It felt like you needed a pair of sunglasses to watch the show.
Indeed, sunglasses were mandatory. From bright colour to neon to sparkle, there was no shortage of high-visibility tricks. The show was extremely long and hard to digest. There was a lot going on. Maybe too much. Addressing fashion's obsession with remaking the past, Rousteing created a megamix of ’60s space-age or optical trapezes, ’70s flares and ’80s everything — mega shoulders, mega buttons, humongous tailoring, Issey Miyake pleating. It was a little confusing and, most of all, a bit abstruse.
The one-legged trousers and one-shouldered blazers resembled the kind of forcibly strange things you see on the catwalk at fashion schools, not Balmain. The tailoring was acceptable, and the pleated and more fluid items looked like an interesting evolution from the hyper construction Rousteing usually favours. We'll take these and leave the rest at the Opera, thank you.