Eleanor Balfour’s take on party dressing was influenced by the on-the-go lifestyle of a generation full of freelancers, she said at her Paris presentation. The British-born, Central Saint Martins-trained and New York-based designer mixed dressy options with tailored pieces, and dotted the lineup with removable details.
Citing Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui as an inspiration for the season, she showed a lineup that played on man-made fabrics — fun fur, “vegan leather,” woven textiles — and added wearable echoes of his “bottle-top” flexible sculptures made of thousands of strips of post-consumer metal as ruché sleeves or in gathers down the front of a slip dress.
Balfour meant her lineup as “occasionwear, when a girl needs an outfit that sets her apart without being a classic cocktail dress,” she said at her showroom. That wouldn’t be hard in a one-shouldered dress that transformed into a sexy slip by shucking a layer off. But there were also outfits that would work around the clock.
One trenchcoat was a mix of fake fur and pleather with a muffler-like separate hood. A double-breasted jacket in an urbane pinstripe had a utilitarian pocket, while velvet trousers had a removable belt that could be worn as a belt bag. There were mixes of jumbo corduroy facing off with pinstripes, cut in blousons, trousers and shirts, to play on a linear motif through textures.