To be fair, anyone who shows up to a present-day Balmain show expecting subtlety or any variation on classic chic is begging for disappointment. Since the label’s rebirth under Christophe Decarnin in 2006, the runway has been the place to let the glitzy good times roll. Under Decarnin it was camp and sexy, and since taking over in spring 2012, Olivier Rousteing has not only tried to keep the flame alive but outshine it with his own ribald brand of arriviste ostentation.
For fall, the shtick descended into a parody of Eighties nouveau pastiche, where the big question Rousteing seemed to pose was, “What would Claude Montana do?” Shoulders fit for a linebacker with a taste for leather and gold lamé, for starters, as well as a steady supply of wrap harem pants — all cinched high on the waist with cummerbund-like belts — in fabrics such as metallic green Moiré, solid purple silk and one in a fuchsia diamond pattern. Diamonds also featured prominently on aggressively ornate tunics and chandelier earrings big enough to rival the fixtures hanging above the runway in the salons of the L’Hôtel de Ville. “More is more” has been the inferred house motto, but sometimes enough is enough.