In some ways, Balmain’s designer Olivier Rousteing is as much an “It” kid as the glitterati he surrounds himself with. Rihanna and Kim Kardashian are both counted in the entourage of famous women who not only wear Balmain, but hobnob with him socially. With popularity steeped in celebrity favor, Rousteing faces the challenges of design with the confidence of a seasoned pro. If you’re going to charge AED 100,000 for an outfit, you’d better have the technique and skill enough to support the price tag, and Balmain is nothing but flawlessly executed high-concept flash and glamour.
Despite the fact that Balmain’s razor sharp, graphic presentation for Spring/Summer 2015 adheres to an iconically rigorous silhouette, Rousteing punctuates the collection with relaxed, breezy pieces that offer moments of lovely relief among so much sex and severity. Fluid, plissé pants and overlong trousers that pool around the feet offer subtle balance to Balmain’s flesh-revealing tops, bandeaus and skimpy bodices. There are many looks that feature cage overlays, which Rousteing explains by way of an anti-censorship message. With so many women wresting back power over their bodies by refusing to be ashamed of them (RiRi comes foremost to mind), body-conscious takes on a whole new meaning. Rousteing prods the anti-censorship theme with grid-like strips of leather comprising, at times, entire outfits – a nod to the censor bar itself.
Bold graphics inform the rest of the looks, with boxy vests following strict lines of contrasting trim, and other head-to-toe-looks made from multi-colored striped fabric. It felt like this collection was all about control – controlling image, controlling self, controlling access to one’s body. Rousteing, perhaps unwittingly, stumbled upon this season’s boldest motif, and it doesn’t hurt one ounce that he accomplished it with phenomenally slinky looks that are as fearless and provocative as the celebrated women who inspired them.
Photos: Courtesy of Imaxtree