To be fair, anyone who shows up to a present-day Balmain showexpecting subtlety or any variation on classic chic is begging fordisappointment. Since the label’s rebirth under Christophe Decarnin in2006, 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 spring2012, Olivier Rousteing has not only tried to keep the flame alive butoutshine it with his own ribald brand of arriviste ostentation.


For fall, the shtick descended into a parody of Eighties nouveaupastiche, where the big question Rousteing seemed to pose was, “Whatwould Claude Montana do?” Shoulders fit for a linebacker with a tastefor leather and gold lamé, for starters, as well as a steady supply ofwrap harem pants — all cinched high on the waist with cummerbund-likebelts — in fabrics such as metallic green Moiré, solid purple silk andone in a fuchsia diamond pattern. Diamonds also featured prominently onaggressively ornate tunics and chandelier earrings big enough to rivalthe fixtures hanging above the runway in the salons of the L’Hôtel deVille. “More is more” has been the inferred house motto, but sometimesenough is enough.

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