Some people get a bike for their 10th birthday, but Olivier Rousteing got Beyoncé.
“I am incredibly happy to salute you on this special occasion in Paris,” the pop queen said in a voice over at today’s Balmain show. The “special occasion” in question is Rousteing’s 10 year anniversary at Balmain, where he has created everything from crystallized corsets to military-inspired jackets, and iconic Coachella costumes for Beyoncé herself.
In 2019, the 36-year-old debuted his first couture collection, making him one of the (very) few Black designers on the Paris schedule. But though the show was breathtaking, his latest spectacle—a “Balmain Festival” featuring music, models, and over 1000 screaming fans at the Seine Musicale concert hall—may be even more impactful.
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It opened with a very personal 2-page letter to friends of Balmain. Rousteing wrote his new collection is about “recovery and renewal,” noting, “a year ago, I suffered some painful burns in an accident. Hospital rooms, bandages, and gauze wraps suddenly became a big part of my life—and as I began sketching, I found myself translating those months of doctors and physical therapy into today’s many bands, weaves, and dangling straps.” He also included puffy accessories and quilted leather, built as if to bubble-wrap the wearer from harm that’s physical, emotional, and even cultural. “Over the next ten years, I pledge to continue to push for more inclusion, more democracy and more openness,” Rousteing pledged. “Here’s to the next decade of sharing our joy-filled signature mix of fashion and music with more and more of those who wish to enter into the Balmain universe.”
The runway opened with Naomi Campbell in a bronze embroidered gown that looked like it was made from the exhumed, exalted treasure of a goddess. ’90s titans Milla Jovovich, Karen Elson, and Carla Bruni strutted, too, along with millennial bombshells Imaan Hammam, Natalia Vodianova, and Soo-Joo Park, plus current catwalk favorites like Adut Akech and Precious Lee. (Alessandra Ambrosio and Karolina Kurkova were in the audience, because one can never have too many Victoria’s Secret alumnae in a pop-up rock stadium.) The fashion event ended with Sia‘s “Unstoppable” blaring as Rousteing and his #BalmainArmy took a bow.
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Then it was on with the show, where Doja Cat sang “Say So” in embroidered hot pants and Marilyn-blonde curls, and performed dance moves so death-defying, they’re probably already banned from DWT. Jesse Jo Stark paired her own thigh high Nancy Sinatra boots with a Balmain optical illusion dress to prove the brand can conquer Laurel Canyon along with San Tropez. Evan Mock also showed up, along with Fernando Casablancas, the little brother of Strokes star Julian Casablancas who made his Paris Fashion Week debut on the runway. And Tommy Dorfman continued her grand fashion tour in a ruched purple party dress and strappy heels. (Her date, film producer Alix Taylor, wore beaded bike shorts, which were equally amazing.)
By the time Franz Ferdinand was slated to perform—10 PM Paris time—there was no need to sing “Take Me Out.” Naomi Campbell already did that.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US