At Balmain’s second ever menswear runway show after last season’s summer’s dessert safari-explorer collection, the Parisian house renege towards its core values featuring a remix of classic elegance and modern sophistication. The grand venue was gold-lined, rows of glittering chandeliers hung up on high ceilings above an ultra-modern glossy pitch ¬black runway, an archetypal feature to the house of Balmain codes. Creative director Olivier Rousteing showcased a handsome offering of brazenness extravagance of the 19th century startled, it was Napoleonic mission to delivered in a grandeur of what was Rococo met Fabergé, met War and Peace, met Versailles, met Claude Montana, met Dune, and the Highlander, in a dizzying display of resplendence pitched at the aristocracy of fortunes.
This time the collection was by far most extreme in its own kind, Rousteing pushed his signature concept beyond the standard approach and high above limits. The Balmain Fall Winter 2016 menswear featured a high percentage of clothing embellished in Swarovski crystals and gold embroidered that riffed off military wear staples, a powerful form mostly highly desired by Balmain army fanatics. It was certainly audacious, certainly over the top, and overly done, but the collection designed in its very form of luxurious language seems to feeds the brand in high energy and conviction, it almost seem like the entire production was taken from BBC’s War and Peace. The Balmain transition in Fall Winter 2016 has been quiet remarkable, it was a glimpse of fresh air, yet again, unashamed, youthful, and unflappable optimism – a small yet large dedicated collection towards a niche market of consumers who find great appreciation towards this complex phantom approach.
What I desired most out of the sea of sparkles were some of the closing jackets, a midnight blue double breasted velvet jacket dressed in gold embroidered epaulettes, cuffs, and lapel which resembles a core feature dated back towards the earlier Asian infused Balmain Fall Winter 2013 Menswear – it is after all a classic piece in the Balmain norm, a staple prominent piece which every Balmainac wardrobe requires but runs deep in one’s pocket. There were a number of tailcoats, equestrian-style knee-high boots, jackets belted in wide quilted cummerbund held with calfskin leather thronging trimmed with fancy long tassels, drop crotch velvet trousers were best to my liking – a sense of style beyond the standard of fashion but yet future-proofed as these elements were all too similar, it rings a bell that these were first introduced once three years ago, and now it has returned again. STORY CONTINUES BELOW.
BALMAIN FALL WINTER 2016 MENSWEAR
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In an interview with Vogue Paris after the fashion show presentation, Rousteing was questioned about the love, community, and family commitments he perpetual emphasize on, it was specifically regarding the “Balmain Army” and it’s aggressive marketing strategies in recent history, Rousteing quoted “Fashion is sometimes aggressive. I love, love, love fashion. For me, there is no aggressiveness about army. I go through such a hard time in fashion, because sometimes some people don’t get who I am and what I do and my way of seeing things. So I think I build my Balmain army because when you build the Balmain world, sometimes you need soldiers more than models. Because I think sometimes fashion can be really rude—and try to destroy some designers. I went through so many things in my life and work in fashion. You know when you deal with bad critics—when you are working ’til 3:00 a.m. every night with your team—and they kill you? Fashion is a business too. I can understand criticism when it is negative or positive. But I like constructive criticism. And sometimes, it’s not.”
“Sometimes, they go really personal because of my age. Because I am not 50 and I did not show more than 10 shows? So sometimes, they keep thinking that I am the teenager of fashion. I grew up in the eyes of fashion and the eyes of the cameras, and sometimes it is really hard for me. I can understand if you don’t like my aesthetic: But don’t try to push me down. I am working so hard and my business is growing… I don’t understand when people say Balmain is not about reality—it might not be your reality, but it is a reality of today. And if you think in London some shops are already 99 percent sold out—I have the numbers. So at least if you don’t respect my aesthetic, respect that I am a businessman.” he says. Five years and 10 seasonal of menswear shows later, after he took reign as creative director at the house of Balmain when he was just only 25 years of age.
Rousteing says that those who snipe and gripe that his clothes don’t reflect reality stupidly miss the fact that enough people buy Balmain to bankroll that level of casting, so it must reflect reality. Perhaps the point is that Rousteing’s talent is to have woven a fantastic unreality, one that ignites the fantasies and desires and financial outlay of his customers. And that’s fashion. Three little girls, perhaps 7 years old, were at the show today: They said it was their first. Afterward, they appeared to be stunned, in rapture. You can’t have everything, Olivier: So don’t sweat the small stuff. Love the army you have.
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