Olivier Rousteing moved from the Amazonian-like jungles of Balmain’s spring collection to the earthy African savannas for fall. And boy, was it wild! Aware that his critics have said he shows too much – both the amount of skin and the number of looks – Rousteing, seems to have absorbed what he needs from these arguments and moved on. The looks were still body-con, but maybe with less underboob, overboob, sideboob, etc. The woman who can afford to splurge to head-to-toe velvet, a studded leather tunic or a dress made from spliced together exotics and finely woven fringe, or its matching over-the-knee snake boots, is probably past the age of flashing her boobs anywhere…unless they’ve just been done. But you understand what we’re saying here. Rousteing is finding that balance between keeping his army of young, hot, social media-crazed girls happy and finding a new customer who’s older, financially independent and more subtle.
And subtlety was at play, just done the unapologetic Balmain way. There were a ton of covered-up looks – velvet mock-neck tops and pants in fire-y patterns like the Sahara sunrise ablaze; detailed brown leather jackets and endless choice of furs and shearlings done long and loose, cinched with wide croc belts, blazer-style or as dramatically asymmetric vests.
The patterns were as mind-blowingly diverse as only Mother Nature can provide: zebra, croc, boa, large bird wings, the big cats and even wolves printed against a rising moon on oversized T-shirts.
Interspersed with all the exotics and leathers were tried and true tweed, boucle and velvet that were shredded and pieced together, frayed and left raw. The lady-who-lunches suit was transformed into an overcoat and mock turtleneck combo worn with a shredded skirt and suede leggings. Welcome to Survival of the Fittest, Rousteing Edition.
There was a lot to process, as is always the case with Balmain’s lengthy (80 looks) runways. Rousteing ended with a series of dark spangled, leather and croc gowns sewn with a Mad Max panache, all rigorous molding with sharp points, the pieces of material seamed together, as ever, like modern armour.
By Nandini D’Souza Wolfe
From: Harper’s BAZAAR US