“What I really wanted to work on this season was defining the French rules, my take on French spirit. Between the L’Oréal [Paris lipstick] collaboration, the [costumes for Paris Opera] ballet [“Renaissance”] and Brigitte Macron wearing Balmain, this past year has been really French for me,” said Olivier Rousteing listing the characteristics that for him set a French house apart: “quality, elegance, richness, youth — and sometimes a bit of controversy.”
The designer focused on “timeless” quintessentially Balmain staples like marinière-inspired beaded bodycon minis, sparkly tweed knits, and strong-shouldered jackets crystal-embroidered up to the hilt and swooshing with chains, layered over destroyed branded band T-shirts. Fabrics spanned metallics, patent leather, men’s wear cloths and fluffy textures working graphic red, white and blue patterns — a nod to the tricolor French flag — on black backgrounds.
“Trends come and go, but iconic pieces are forever. Right now, I’m more into the idea of having a timeless collection — pieces you could see in a museum in 50 years and say, that’s Balmain,” Rousteing said.
Six-button double-breasted blazers and cropped velvet jackets tacked with bows telegraphed an “old France” madame vibe, while channeling a youth factor were the silver constellation-embroidered dresses with jagged asymmetric hems just waiting to party, and the rock ‘n’ roll beaded velvet jackets crammed with Ziggy Stardust-inspired motifs.
Bags ranged from new versions of the Balmain B.Box to the fun Star bag inspired by an icon of U.S. pop culture: a Starbucks coffee cup.