PARIS, France — Amongst the hubbub of designer migration and houses left in limbo, the relationship between Mr Rousteing and the house of Balmain is one that keeps going from strength to shining strength.
At Thursday's show it was the effect of one American in Paris, Miss Kendall Jenner, who had another pair hooting and hollering front row as she opened the show. The duo was her mother Kris and brother-in-law Kanye West, poignant pawns in the Balmain game (or vice versa), which has become a social media extravaganza so inextricably linked with the celebrity world that its relevance inside the conventions of the fashion industry itself is of questionable importance.
Nevertheless once again a show happened in Balmain’s historical hometown of Paris, under the grand chandeliers of the Hôtel Potocki. It had renditions of everyone from Placebo to Savage Garden mixed with a live orchestra for its soundtrack, one altogether incongruous with the collection except perhaps for the frail fil rouge of party songs for party clothes.
Those party clothes were Balmain business as usual, shaded in a palette somewhere between play-doh and sorbet, and paired with suede boots so thigh-high they disappeared under teensy skirts as a second skin. That was Rousteing’s first idea for insulating his well-heeled clientele in the winter months, the second being the tufted fur that panelled high-waisted corset skirts. The third was a handful of cocooning wool coats à la Claude Montana; those were perhaps the pure, wearable highlight of this heavily-worked collection, which is more than can be said for not one, not two, but five pairs of sheer lace trousers frilled to within an inch of their very existence.
Thanks to nearly sixty exits, Rousteing’s show drove home a repetition of decorative outfits that rarely seem digestible as single garments, but rather arrive fully formed as a suctioned, belted, total look that could range from say, a laced hourglass shift in powder pink suede to a scrolled and striped pantsuit in baby blue silk.
Amongst the fanciful flou, stiff lampshade skirts emphasised ‘booty’ and their softened counterpart made it shake thanks to dozens of lampshade tassels framing baroque pearls and minute glass bugle beads. These ornate red-carpet numbers have become the house’s bread-and-butter, with the precious nature of their bold decoration matched only by unabashed sex appeal.
A selfie barely does those justice, but the paparazzi will.