Rarely do we get to see a men’s collection that is shown cohesively and convincingly in tandem with women’s ... let alone that one is Spring and the other is Resort. Olivier Rousteing is no flash in the pan. This is a designer who gets it! Whether you love the clothes or hate them is not the issue; the issue at hand is that this young man stands head and shoulders above so many of his professional peers… at least this is my opinion!
With all the buzz about “blurred lines” and omnisexual clothes, Monsieur Rousteing is a designer who accomplishes and proves that it can be done without looking like a tawdry drag queen in training or looking like you were playing dress up while in granny’s attic. To me ... this is quite an accomplishment given what has been paraded down the runways and lauded by a pandering press. Please understand that in no way do I think these are office wear or supermarket clothes BUT they are clothes that are DESIGNED and offered in a way that makes them quite credible within the sphere of fashion.
While Balmain in no way resembles what it once was, the reimagined brand has an identity that is easily recognizable. There is no shopping for a new client base each season, this is now a brand that builds on itself each season or in other words this is not one season of tailored suits and then the next shapeless pants and tees, Rousteing consistently and effortlessly plays his literal “flash” cards with great ease. He is not reinventing himself each season; yes the clothes are theatrical flashy, rock n roll and extravagant but that’s how Balmain has become identifiable.
Okay so that’s my philosophy and sentiments on the brand and its designer, so now it is onto collection! Love the take on safari jackets, the take on cargo pants, the draped jerseys for men, the tiger jackets, the lashing, the leathers and suedes, the amazing quality of labor intensive styles and how it is so consistent season after season. Granted, these are clothes that are stratospherically expensive and to my eyes these are clothes that are aspirational to devout fashion aficionados as well as those sorry victims. The difference between the two is how you wear them and why you buy them. For me, if I was many years younger I would “have to have “a few pieces to mix into my regular or “normal “wardrobe. Anyway ...
How you judge or assess this collection depends greatly on your frame of reference, your fashion knowledge and lastly on your senses of style and adventure.
As a take away... these are clothes to either lust for or to abhor. These are not clothes that bore nor do they leave you with no opinion. After seeing what has been shown, IMHO Rousteing’s Balmain is surely in the top 10.