I bet Olivier Rousteing knows how to throw a party. New life ambition for le bucket list: to attend a Dynasty-themed New Year’s Eve party in Vegas with him, preferably in a couple of decades when I will have stored up the chutzpah to wear super-pleated palazzo trousers in a colour most commonly associated with either food or jewels and something tight in velvet on top. In many ways, however, this evening’s Balmain show was precisely that, plus it had mama Jenner in attendance along with some kids she brought with her’ so the palazzos can wait.
In a letter to every guest that went on to praise the recently deceased chairman of Balmain, Alain Hivelin, the man that orchestrated the brand’s revival, Rousteing cited the spirit of Paris after the events of January and the city as a cultural melting pot as his main inspiration for this collection. ‘Echoing the spirit of the seventies catwalks, today’s presentation highlights the beauty of strong confident women of all races, as well as the vibrant tones that recall the richness of other cultures”, he wrote. Although it should be noted how brilliantly diverse Rousteing’s casting is, even though that ought to be standard operating procedure by now, it is not quite clear how those ‘other cultures’ were incorporated into the collection, but why be a party pooper when everything else was just so… wow!
From Alessandra Ambrosio opening the show in a sunshine yellow pleated gown, belted high and sheer on top, to Adriana Lima closing it in a black pleated gown with an oversized coat draped on her shoulders, Rousteing pleated, embellished and razzle-dazzled every inch of fabric on display. Yellow, orange, green and purple lived happily together, and when not on those long, did-I-mention-they-were-pleated dresses they appeared as sheer lace scuba-tight high-neck tops and flared trousers or shimmering fringed mini dresses or whisk-it-till-it’s-stiff tiered velvet minis or silk satin wrap jackets. Pardon the grandma here who particularly liked the only thing on display that wouldn’t help you catch a cold, a geometric mohair sweater, but there you have it. A pair of black and gold palazzo trousers that looked almost understated with a black velvet body shimmered so much they showed the Eiffel tower how it’s done.