WORDS Philip Livchitz
Since Olivier Rousteing took over the role of Balmain’s creative director in 2011 from Christophe Decarnin, the French maison has turned its attention once more to haute couture and finer aesthetics. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Balmain’s SS18 collection was an excellent showcase of Rousteing’s talent and vision for the 70-year old fashion house with specific focus on detail and exquisite tailoring.
The collection featured symmetrical patterns embellished on black and white long knits, leather jackets and skin-tight trousers. These patterns were complemented by distinguished Breton stripes heavily featuring on fine knits, fringe jackets with tassels and intricate lace-work on women’s boots and dresses. Each look followed by an even more impressive and captivating array of attire that made its viewers want more. Rousteing’s talent was at its finest display with complex knit dresses featuring laced sleeves completed with metallic floral bracelets and necklaces as well as laced open-toe shoes. The inclusion of U.S. elements into the collection added a worldly touch of rock ‘n' roll in form of horizontal red-and-white striped shirt with white stars and a camel coloured fringed corduroy knit with light-blue jeans completed by a pair of caramel suede boots. Rousteing’s eye for detail was ever-present with each look featuring metallic round neck brooches, embroidered anchors, maritime link bracelets and belts as well as metallic tips on black boots.
Accompanied by classical French chansons ranging from "Bonnie and Clyde" by Serge Gainsbourg to "Tous les Cris les SOS" by Daniel Balavoine, the collection celebrated the notion of being French, especially in the light of recent French presidential elections with Emmanuel Macron’s victory ensuring diversity and openness were still enshrined as ideals present in French society.