Balmain makes extremely expensive, well-crafted clothes to get women noticed. Why else do you think the biggest banner holders for the brand are professional attention-seekers like the Kardashian-Jenner clan? Revealing and provocative silhouettes are part-and-parcel of the Balmain look, but so is extraordinary craftsmanship that makes embroidery, leatherwork, decorative beading, and other specialties a pillar of the house.
With Balmain’s Spring/Summer 2018 highlighted against the equally theatrical backdrop of the extravagant Paris Opera, the thought struck me like lightning, “This is the new baroque.” Like the royalty that donned the bygone period’s lavish clothing, the modern royal – a.k.a. the celebrity/supermodel – is attracted to an aesthetic that is over-the-top, with a price-tag to match.
Sweaters, trousers, and dresses – foundation items for any wardrobe – were transformed into jaw-dropping creations by way of gorgeous technical fabrics, glossy leathers, crochet and embroidery techniques, and acres of embellishment – from fringe to crystal studs. Even tee-and-trouser combinations were elevated by sequin-encrusted surfaces, and utilitarian jumpsuits came in amazing tweed textures with gold chain straps. There was nothing simple or unfussy about this collection, so minimalists will have to look elsewhere for their wardrobe next season. One item alone could have a ton of stuff going on, like an embroidered-and-crocheted patchwork crop top with tinsel fringe and chain-and-stud detailing with a creep of 3D floral appliqués down the arm – and that was only the top half of the look.
There was nothing simple or unfussy about this collection, so minimalists will have to look elsewhere for their wardrobe next season.
Although a good portion of the show was done in black-and-white, there was a lovely navy-and-white section in the middle that looked more sophisticated. There were some real stunners in this group, too, like a cut-out tweed jacket with intense corrugated leather trim and a bustier cup bodice. At the bottom, an explosion of ruffles gave the look flamenco flare. A multi-colored parade of beaded patchwork minis also injected the procession with energy.
Olivier Rousteing’s incredible cast issued the ultimate assurance that this collection was for the elite: Natalia Vodianova, Natasha Poly, Elsa Hosk, Joan Smalls, Karolina Kurkova, Alessandra Ambrosio, and more, were in the mix. All of the industry’s most stunning paeans of female virtue need a wardrobe to match, and Balmain continues to service their needs in creative ways.