Much more photos and complete story by the end of this page.
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
COMPLETE 63 LOOKS
THE CURRENT STATE
It’s been a while since I’ve last written a review, I have recently went through huge career transition and have finally found a job that I love, besides this I had many things going in my mind that I just needed some time off, a long holiday which I took and regrettable dismissed my beloved blog. While I was away throughout these inactivity times, I took the opportunity to purchase this gorgeous Balmain Biker Leather Gilet that went on sale.
Over recent years, Balmain Homme has been transformed from the very Parisian chic biker cross military accent that Christophe Decarnin once left behind into a revolutionary concurrent opulence collection, often delivered in sharper elegance, looser silhouettes, exaggerated embellishments and outstanding embroidered craftsmanship, all these elements are synonymous to the brand identity today. However, despite all these distinctive and sometimes radical changes, the Balmain biker and military concept has not been long forgotten but continuously innovated through time, so much so that today’s offering consist an abundance of styles once scarce at the marketplace. The unparalleled creations from Balmain incorporates unmistakable elements in each design that makes their clothes unique. Due to such innovation techniques and the increasing market supply and demand for Balmain menswear, I felt that the brand in recent years has lost part of its charm and exclusiveness due to the saturated accessibility, although retail prices generally continued to fluctuate throughout every season. Shop at Balmain menswear at Farfetch now for competitive retail prices globally.
Perhaps one of the most iconic pieces from the modern classic collection is the Balmain Double Symmetrical V-Zipped Biker Jacket, otherwise known just as the Balmain Biker Leather Jacket. First introduced back in Balmain Spring Summer 2012 menswear, it was Olivier Rousteing’s first menswear collection, the quintessential leather jacket soon pervaded across a series an avant-garde series dwelled from quilted jerseys, mixed materials, and most recent bi or tricolour ways, also seen available at the H&M Balmain collection. While its design sets the benchmark in futuristic outwear back in SS12, the designer additionally introduced two biker leather gilets, sleeveless jackets which were practical for the spring summer season. The first was a black asymmetrical zipped leather gilet, while the other was made with a special python leather in gorgeous greyish blue. They were absolutely breath-taking pieces that I’ve adored for many seasons to come and have always dreamt about owning one ever since its inception.
This is the Balmain Black Biker Leather Gilet from the Spring Summer 2015 collection, and believe it or not this is the entry level of the range. Of course entry level is a relative term and while the Balmain Black Biker Leather Gilet might be less expensive and less complete in the range it’s by no means cheap and it’s not short of the muscle either. Balmain reintroduced the men’s leather gilet nearly after four seasons, this time the design and elements were based on the iconic Balmain Double Symmetrical V-Zipped Biker Jacket and it continues that tradition of the double v-front split zippers, ribbed trims, large buttoned eyelets and a wide shoulder stance, modernized with a fastening belt on the waistline. The double zipper’s complex choreography is manually interchangeable by folding two sides to another, transforming it to a complete harnessed vest, while still leaving some space for body movement. It converts the Balmain leather gilet from a sleek sleeveless jacket to a glamorous rocker vest at just a few zips away. I have soon developed a strong desirability to own this Balmain leather gilet.
It is the third consecutive Safari and Adventurer collection we have seen, but the era of Balmain’s menswear has never been so superseded by something more. The first ever menswear runway show by the Parisian house not only mark’s a new milestone in its history, the collection itself differs to be somewhat different, combining the best attributes from its pedigree – most notable the Balmain Fall Winter 2014 Glamazon Boys and Balmain Spring Summer 2013 Military Safari menswear collections. The Balmain Spring Summer 2016 menswear collection can perhaps be best described as an innovated approach in practical luxury at ease, but of course there will always be those extravagant pieces one could only dream about.
The good old Balmain trademark treatment given to its latest menswear collection could only mean one thing, bolder looks, significant details, larger embroidery, distinctive embellishments and a lot more choice for the mortal with deep pockets to experiment. Despite it’s luxurious attitude and signature aesthetics it’s quite an understated collection, you can arguably wear most of the collection around town and not cause a single battled eyelid. Well of course if you opt for the right pieces, especially those that are heritage towards the classic biker or skewed towards the safari wearer, such as the cargo utility trousers and jackets to name a few. Isn’t that the best attribute of wearing Balmain? Understated elegance, only those who recognize the little details will be able to find genuine appreciation.
At the label’s showroom on 44 Rue Francois 1er, there were, admittedly, articulated clothing on racks sorted based on characteristics. At one end, there are the adventurer’s light linens in khaki and whites derived from the Safari concept, while the other side showcases the vigorous animal prints perhaps more suitable for a flamboyant celebrity, leading it towards powerful runway quilted leather, embroidered and embellished variants. But what we would like to see here are the pieces that were not featured in the runway, many thanks to global buyers we are able to have a prior glimpse on a small selection of commercialized pieces concealed from the public eye. These photographs are extremely difficult to source season by season, it seems as though Balmain is trying to retain buyers and guest from exposing them before the collection officially hits the stores worldwide from March 2016 onwards.
My favorite piece below has to be the Balmain Black & Khaki Union Jack Distressed Knit Sweater, also available in the traditional Navy & Red, which made a huge distinction on the runway show including various highlights on press. Although it was featured earlier, observing one on a hanger while privately modeled in the showroom gives off a real feeling to the quality and clothing interpretation that could be related to a daily wearer. Another piece that I am aiming to acquire is the Balmain Embellished Lapel Wool Cropped Jacket; you can see it hanging by the racks behind one of the models wearing the Balmain White Draped Sleeveless Cotton T-Shirt in the below image. There is just so much affection to it that I find it difficult to describe it in words, to me it is the perfect Balmain jacket from this season, and regardless of your point of view, it is truly a stunning piece and a worthy successor to Balmain Satin-Lapel Wool Cropped Jacket from Balmain Spring Summer 2012 menswear.
Besides the above, there are some tremendously brilliant details in the collection, take for example the Balmain Brown Latticed Embroidered Jacket. It is a single piece constructed from thorough embroidery handwork, one could only guess how complicated it is to produce this particular jacket, especially when the designer will have to make at least two common sizes (48, 50) throughout its production. These are literally works of art; imagine owning the latticed embroidered jacket or the rich golden embellished blazers from the collection? They may become just the thing fashion historians will reference in years to come. For men’s ready to wear, it’s the closest thing to couture. Personally, this isn’t your proper safari wear; it is your daily weapon.
BALMAIN BLACK UTILITY-POCKET HOODED SLEEVELESS VEST
61.J820.B139 — $1,368 (approx.)
Balmain Homme Spring Summer 2016 Collection
BALMAIN BLACK DOUBLE LAYERED SUSPENDER STRAPS SHORTS
61.T513.D374 — $1,198 (approx.)
BALMAIN BLACK LACE-UP OPEN-TOE GLADIATOR LEATHER SANDALS
61.T996.BA31M — $2,235 (approx.)
Balmain Homme Spring Summer 2016 Collection
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
COMPLETE 55 LOOKS
It is hard to believe that Balmain Homme has just been around since Fall Winter 2009 and still growing strong. As Balmain remains the world’s leading luxury designer with sales reaching 30 million euros in growth and 20% increase in sales per annum, the young creative director Olivier Rousteing has certainly contributed a substantial success to the Parisian powerhouse, so much so that he constantly provides unparalleled designs with newer collections exceeding expectations. Watch ‘Inside Fashion’ interview, BoF’s Imran Amed sits down with Olivier Rousteing and Emmanuel Diemoz to discuss the rise of Balmain and its digital revolution.
Head turning, it is such an overused phrase isn’t it when it comes to describing a distinctive collection, the Balmain Fall Winter 2015 menswear translates Rousteing’s unique progression in his forth ‘Autome Hiver’ establishment. In this season the designer pursuits the new generation of aristocracy by offering an array of fluidity and elegant line-ups while retaining signature aesthetics balanced from the house’s traditions. Luxury and opulence are key features embedded in the new Balmain Fall Winter 2015 menswear collection and after a thorough examination in Luisa Via Roma’s Balmain Fall Winter 2015 men’s pre-order collection, it is definitely not short-lived. Considering the results of desirability from certain pieces such as the Balmain Black Embroidered Cuffs Wool Gabardine Jacket and Balmain Black & Gold Velcro Suede Leather Sneaker yields irresistible aesthetics, all while delivering true luxury.
The eagle eyed amongst you might notice that the latest Balmain Fall Winter 2015 menswear resembles fragments of a few predecessor collections, more notably the Balmain Fall Winter 2012 men’s “Russian Imperial Army” and the Balmain Fall Winter 2013 men’s Asian-Eastern thematic. Rousteing took some of the best attributes to render the current aristocracy collection. The difference given is a series of cosmetic changes in the redesigned bomber fur jacket – an ultimate staple for every winter season, military influenced satin-lapel blazer, geometry panelled biker denims in key washes and leather variants, including a diversified collection of his signature sarouel and sweatpants. These changes might sound small but it actually gives this collection an innovative modern appearance, particularly in details administered.
Fortunately, the notion underpinning the latest Balmain Fall Winter 2015 menswear is far from main stream at least from now, which means those who are eager to experience it need to be prepared to pay a substantial premium. But the good news is it is not some far-fetched laboratory experiment, it is a comprehensive collection that has been given a series of updated cosmetic changes on both classic and seasonal pieces, yet it still feels every bit as special and true to the hallmarks of the Parisian house as represented. Even though most of the styles has been repeated or eventually turned classic for this season, there are an abundance of new biker denims and sweatpants that comes with features like ribbed leather inserts, double-zippers, along with distressed and destroyed characteristics, so it’s very well diversified. Speaking of which, the Balmain Blue Knee-Destroyed Denim Biker Jeans will definitely be a sell out much like it’s earlier sibling in a lighter blue variant from Spring Summer 2015.
The modern silhouette has made this generation of Balmain Homme remained iconic without sacrificing any presence, the bold panelling bits with contrast materials including the thick military buttons and shimmery embellished zippers certainly do a lot to underline that presence. And that is saying something, because in styling terms, the Balmain Fall Winter 2015 menswear collection is a show stopper that proves irresistible, some unique pieces that you want is the best attributes that Balmain has to offer, and if money is not a variable in our decision then you can’t go wrong with the waxed coated pieces, unless you find yourself struggling to dress in one – most prominently the Balmain Dark Green Washed Zipped Cotton Biker Jacket, pairing it with the complementary Balmain 16.5cm Dark Green Coated Nappa Leather Biker Trousers, or the restored Balmain 17cm Black Waxed Coated Denim Biker Panelled Jeans which was last seen in Balmain Spring Summer 2012 mens, also known as Rousteing’s very first Balmain Homme collection.
While the overall Balmain Fall Winter 2015 menswear collection is evocative to say the least, some of the minor details like the richly embroidered gold crest and oversized lion patch are traditional techniques evolved from the well-known classic couture spirit, these distinctive characteristics are in congress as part of the permanent feature in Balmain Homme but the result is always fascinating, always thought provoking. And while it looks spectacularly presented, the collection only truly comes to life when worn with the right pieces. However these are premium value pieces at a staggering prices, one would have to evaluate with deep pockets to truly experience, there is a lot of personal preference there as well. Luckily for many of us this is hardly a decision to lose sleep over as the ‘entry-level’ Balmain embroidered pieces costs at least $1,115 – $5,270 depending on your selection.
Finally there is also the question of price. The latest Balmain Fall Winter 2015 menswear collection works out to be more upmarket, shifting it a cut above the competition with a much higher price point than the earlier predecessor collections, but it also has much more interesting and distinctive yet well balanced pieces than the ones you will find in the past, which may or may not be a good thing depending on your point of view. As the new collection goes, I say it is a successful one and it should send the Balmain in a good stead until that newer generation arrive till next year. Pre-order your Balmain Fall Winter 2015 now at Luisa Via Roma, delivers no later by 30th September 2015. Or enjoy complimentary shipping worldwide with current Spring Summer 2015 end of season sale.
BALMAIN BLACK FOX FUR HOODED LEATHER CANVAS DETACHABLE BOMBER JACKET
Luisa Via Roma $8,200 – BUY IT NOW
BALMAIN BLACK CREST EMBROIDERED CUFFS WOOL GARBARDINE JACKET
Luisa Via Roma $5,190 – BUY IT NOW