There is one thing I love about Balmain. The women here aren't a white washed blank canvas against which to set clothes. One is very aware that there are 'people' on the runway. However, what Olivier Rousteing asked of women this season was a bit of a tall order. The clothes wore the models - and not the other way around. Strong shoulders, corsets and thigh high boots - in one look - is okay if you are leading a cartoonish cab-to-curb lifestyle. In a season where we have seen lots of eighties references on period dress - we here saw it reduced to publicity friendly costume. There were so many tassels and curlicues, that some garments threatened to leave the binary of fashion all together and become pieces of furniture. Voluminous trouser ensembles rendered women as Rococo fawns. Where is Rousteing's understanding of proportion and balance? Sure, he can knock it out the park with a short sculpted cocktail dress - but we can thank Thierry Mugler for having done that, thirty years ago.
This collection had some beautiful pieces, for sure. And it's great to imagine the joy that the Kardashians and any other Instagram glamazons will have in decking themselves out in such wares. The eau de nil and pastel colours were very pretty, and should have helped soften things, but the black velvet section was where things became much more wearable - and desirable. The blouses overall were a real high point - and the Claude Montana style coats could have really worked without the thick silver belts.
In this day and age, when so few designers are casting a variety of races and size in their shows, it would be great if this designer could give ‘real women’ more of a helping hand. It's a similar gig to Moschino, where design is being created for social media shares - and for women who airbrush themselves on Instagram apps. Rather than real, these women bizarrely looked hyper-unreal. Quel dommage.