For almost as long as I can remember, the Balmain menswear collection was one of the most desirable amongst the others. Back in the late 2010s, the creation of Balmain Homme by Christophe Decarnin was a small spark to a large beginning, while I wasn’t into fashion at that time I did get a glimpse to experience the collection a few years later, it was one of the most memorable fashion experience I had. I could still recall my initial attitude towards the collection and its exorbitant pricing, which I thought was ludicrous at that time. But just having the privileged to appreciate the collection in reality felt rewarding, and much more once I’ve acquired a few pieces that I’m proud to call mine.
The Parisian catwalk saw a vast number of models, almost 30 looks extra as compared to its previous Paris Fashion Week debut. Balmain Homme has champion larger collections in every season until most recently in history, the Parisian house debut its very first former runway show. Creative director Olivier Rousteing expresses at a backstage interview that although women have always known the designer brand, menswear has accounted for a respectable 40 percent of the business. This huge prospect gave Balmain Homme the opportunity to showcase its first menswear show that also features a few advance viewing of Resort 2016 womenswear. “I have a chance with my brand, it’s that my woman and my man can actually buy their clothes together. So I think it was important to do my first show, and at the same time have my girls, which is really an important part of the business, and connect them together. I think it is really interesting because at a lot of the brands, the men and the women are really different. My Balmain men and my Balmain women are really synchronized and I’m really happy with that.” said Rousteing. The latter modeled by socialite Peter Brant, whose younger brother, Harry, also walked in the show, including world’s most successful male model, Sean O’Pry and Alessandra Ambrosio who decked in women’s resort. When questioned about Balmain Homme’s future, Rousteing said he would like a fond remembrance of this moment to even after 5 years down the line.
For this forthcoming season, Olivier Rousteing seeks inspiration from a safari exploration; an adventurous traveler finding treasures, the masculine Balmain men discovering the world quoted the designer. This is the third installation reflected from the classic theme that was initially explored in the most recent Balmain Fall Winter 2014 menswear, and the antecedent Balmain Spring Summer 2013 menswear collection. The new Balmain Spring Summer 2016 menswear derives equally from both former collections and seems to shares the same sentiment across an array of looks that are unique in the modern day context. The collection infuses in shades of brown, khaki, caramel, neutral earth tones, dusty whites and occasionally juxtapose against blacks with gold embroidered accents, bewildered ponyhair tiger prints were among the signature aesthetics that gave creation towards a luxurious attitude. A letter left on the venue seats expresses the creative designer’s though process and elaboration towards the latest collection – “Theapeutic Value”, the most fascinating things about designing.
The Balmain Spring Summer 2016 menswear collection represents a crossroads of cultural influences and the desert exploration embodied a metaphor for creation. At the end of the journey, the created object was a cathartic symbol. Most notable elements were reintroduced references from the earlier quest in heavy innovation. The desert exploration starts with leather jackets were intricately braided and laced in heavy luxurious detailing, while explorer suit came spliced in a double-breasted jacket series with refined satin touches. Military influences were all over; utility pockets were made into cargos detailing with belted key ring fastenings in slouchy drop-crotched pants. There was even more room for opulence, ending the vast few in shimmery gold embellishments made on black outfits to retains the exclusive legacy, some were embroidered from in phoenix and lions. The collection felt extremely luxurious and thrillingly glamorous.
A second take on the open-toe gladiator sandal has returned for the following season, this time there is a new line-up in various shades of browns and khaki colourway, typically in calf leather or suede variants in high-tops mimicking desert military boots in periodic translation. The latest distinct feature is the multi-velcro fastening which is truly unique by its repetition design, while others were equipped with mountaineer laces. Last made available in Balmain Spring Summer 2015 menswear in a black quilted leather lace-up variant, we think it’s grotesque and less well-received compare to it’s sneaker and military boots counterparts.
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR
First introduced in Balmain Fall Winter 2014 menswear in a ponyhair leopard variant, the wild party animal prints are back. Spotted near the finale of the show was the glistering Balmain Tiger Print Crest Embroidered Varsity Leather Jacket, a successor to its predecessor that may look delirious compared to the usual college wear, but this luxurious outwear is one of the collection’s ultimate masterpiece. I wouldn’t be surprise to see a few celebrities sporting one in the subsequent year.
Perhaps one of my most favourable statement jackets in this season is the Balmain Gold Embellished Lapel Wool Cropped Jacket, seen later near the end of the show is a classic piece that merit a second look. It is based on the earlier Balmain Satin-Lapel Wool Cropped Jacket that was first introduced in Balmain Spring Summer 2012 menswear, it was Rousteing’s first menswear collection as appointed creative director. The first series saw a python lapel that was worn by a few renowned celebrities; there was also a more accessible satin-lapel version which was later redesigned in following seasons. I find this a nostalgic piece simply because I own the earlier satin-lapel version, the new added gold embellished trims on the lapel redefines the entire outlook, the gold embellishments are plated like an scale armour – it exhibits a balance between masculinity and higher elegance, both attributes known to the house of Balmain.
The Balmain Camel Brown Drop-Crotch Cargo Trousers with suspended belt loops is an ideal piece for spring season, those who would like to break from the sweat can opt for the Balmain Camel Brown Utility Pockets Cargo Pleated Shorts in summer, but both of these styles are quite season based. If I have been given only one choice to pick the best out of the entire season, I would go for the Balmain White Cargo Leather Zipped Biker Sweatpants – this remarkable pair features various key elements that are significant to towards the Balmain Homme heritage, knee-ribbed details, oversized utility pockets on waist with belt loop fastening, and zipper embellished pockets.
BALMAIN SPRING SUMMER 2016 MENSWEAR
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Source: Photographer: Monica Feudi / feudiguaineri.com
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