PARIS, France — Nothing smelled like teen spirit at Balmain today — despite a few seated front row, and despite the mashed up strains of the cult Nirvana track that opened the show like some sort of mystical harbinger of the inappropriate appropriations to come.
Olivier Rousteing’s schtick for Autumn was a voyage through animalia: one that saw him run amok with both exotic and garden variety skins chopped and sheared into many, many brown and gold armour-like minidresses.
His shopping list read like a strange safari: from springbok to snakeskin, shearling, astrakhan, crocodile and lizard, the intricately worked, at times tentacular designs came festooned with chains and punched with chenille (it caused a fug of powdery fibres around the runway when one touched the other).
Some came spliced with the kind of wolf face souvenir t-shirts you can find at any street market, in any far flung port. Others, however, came with overt references to fashion’s recent history. Mr. Alaïa’s iconic alligator-backed coat was one of them, amongst a slew of Tom Ford-isms that saw this collection looking back at late 20th century glamour through a decidedly 21st century lens.