Paris Fashion Week Coverage: Balmain Spring 2016 Collection

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One way to assure the notoriety of your brand is to populate campaigns and Instagram posts with the most elite faces of the moment, a method Olivier Rousteing practically invented himself. Balmain is now instantly associated with the most glamorous women in the fashion game – from the constantly coiffed Kardashian brood to the hottest models du jour (some of whom are one and the same). True to form, Balmain’s runway was populated with popular faces, with looks that celebrated the brand’s exquisitely crafted excess. However, models were mired in a network of stiff macramé, metal overlays, and heavy suede — we can’t imagine that any of this was comfortable, but it sure looked amazing in pictures, which is entirely the point, n’est-ce pas?

Photo: Courtesy of Getty Images

At Balmain’s prohibitive price points, most of us are just here for the spectacle, which Rousteing dished up like a reality-show producer. There were diamond-netted skirts in punched-out, paillette-adorned suede, lace-front jade mini dresses, fully crocheted jumpsuits with matching long cardigans, and more. Underneath the collection’s front of densely beaded fringe dresses, nude bodysuits contoured with contrast panels, and skirts made from a show-stopping filigree of braided gold chains, there was fascinating construction that proffered interesting and erotic ways to frame the décolletage and the midriff. Rousteing worked in clingy, revealed proportions, but top-heavy looks were unfortunate contrasts to the majority of his body-framing pieces. Not only were the bulky sleeves of these looks awkward, but so were the stiff suedes they came in. The common saying is that one must suffer for fashion, but the industry has steadily moved away from that message this season with collections that are effervescent and breezy. Balmain might be well-served to edit out some of the more overwrought notions from its collections so that its radiant couture-level embellishment and detail work can shine.

Photos: Courtesy of Imaxtree

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