I think I can safely say that Pierre is rolling over in his grave. Balmain has been totally reimagined without any regard to its roots or DNA, but that’s not necessarily the worst thing in the world. The brand has been morphed into the rock n roll go to resource for those who must have the “it” jacket to end all jackets and it all comes at quite a price.
Olivier Rousteing has taken the brand into its next incarnation from its most recent reinvention at the hands of Christophe Decarnin. Mr. Rousteing has whipped this collection into a frenzy of sights and ideas and in the process brought a polish and completeness to the collection. I always viewed the Decarnin collections as groups of jackets, all of which were heavily embellished and now there appears to be a thread which links it all together and still focuses on the jacket yet yields a full collection.
It has the markings of so many who came before him like Thierry Mugler, Gianni Versace, Oscar de la Renta, Franco Moschino and even Pucci under the hand of Peter Dundas. As a whole, this collection is way way over the top and way way editorial driven but the unmistakable 80’s take and all the references require a much more serious review than the past collections. The extreme shoulders, the broderie anglaise ( Google it), the patterns, the colors and the overall silhouettes scream look at me and will no doubt grace the pages of every fashion magazine as well as many fashion blogs which will use words such as “fierce” or “fabulous” or “divine.” It is unfortunate that few if any of these outlets or reviews will give a reason for the reaction. I am sure there is a heap of blah blah blah that will accompany the collection but that really doesn’t matter as the clothes must speak for themselves … unless of course you are Miuccia or Marc who serve Kool-Aid at their shows.
Bottom lines... have a look and really think about all this as there is more than the costumes that meet the eye. There is a great level of thought and technical skills that go into a collection like this and one can only imagine what will happen when it is channeled into a less ribald and less referenced grouping.