Hoards of Kardashian fans blocked the entrance outside. Once one had negotiated the bottle neck of a hotel lobby, attendees imploded into the mirrored ball room. Choral music reached for the heavens, the lights went up, and right on cue, the Michael Jackson music arrived. Call it show music telepathy.
The show opened with a succession of black models. Throughout, diversity - and a nearing of real life - was celebrated, in the shape of curves, and multi racial casting. One does worry when it's just a handful of labels doing this. It becomes just "their thing". It should be everybody's thing. Similarly to when black girls get cast for Spring/Summer tropical looks, over the luxury of Autumn/Winter, casting women of ethnicity as glamazons, boxes them in. New wider paradigms exist in our world. Ironically, fashion is slow to catch on.
Onto the clothes, opening looks announced basket weave mid calf pencil skirts as a key piece - they were opulently artisan. Bandage wrapping featured as bodies and as latticed detailing on dresses, whilst long coats were paneled with insets of crochet. Here at Balmain, it was all about weaving and grids. Suede bombers and skirts were injected with woven panels, and every macramé offering was later upgraded. A souped-up sapphire version was supermodel stunning, embellished with crystal gem stones. An emerald green dress glamoured audiences in an instant. As the Michael Jackson lyrics "this girl is so dangerous" boomed from the speakers, it occurred this dress could be/is hoping to be most men's kryptonite.
Ruffles were also an important component of the collection. Suede ruched pelmets tapped into the archive. There were some rather overwhelming ruffled leather trousers. On the other hand, chiffon versions cut above the knee, looked like a chic option. The Balmain shoulder became stronger, within the last section, whilst cropped oversized bombers added an eighties notion of what power could look like. A huge square bag with gold handles was also an example of where the house needs to claw back its idea of strength.
The music went to an angelic place - and I think the latticed dress in white was supposed to be our very own divine moment. It wasn't. However, this was was a far better attempt at glamour than other houses this season. It might have been embellished, but it was truer.