A road trip through the Arizona desert was the starting point for Olivier Rousteing’s resort collection for Balmain, which featured caftans printed with cactuses and burnt landscapes as well as graphic minidresses inspired by tribal paintings and tattoos.
Some of the more intricate pieces were covered with cut mirrors in colorful hues. One black and yellow dress mixed embroidered glass beads, plaited vinyl and rows of threaded chunky stones revealing parts of the midriff, inspired by a beaded curtain swinging in the entrance of a Californian bar.
The collection was craft-intensive: Fringes dangled from a printed leather poncho and along the hem of minidresses, with some pieces lined with vividly colored feathers.
“For me pre-collections, which represent around 70 percent of revenue and stay in stores longer than seasonal collections, are the perfect moment to work with the full scope of the house’s savoir-faire,” said Rousteing, adding that he and his team also have more time to “have fun” with certain techniques, such as tiny pieces of dried clay sewn together on a the shoulders of a beaded dress.
The designer, who has been busy with store openings these last six months, relishes meeting clients worldwide. “I listen to their feedback to understand their needs,” he said, noting that jersey pieces were the current bestsellers, which led him to interpret two of the label’s signature silhouettes, the six-button blazer and the structured minidress, in knitted versions.
Rousteing also imagined what his Balmain woman would slip into once back in Paris after her American trip: polka dot chiffon blouses, tweed skirt suits and denim halter dresses, all accessorized with the label’s brand new handbag, the Buzz, the shoulder strap of which playfully doubles as a detachable leather and gold metal belt.
The collection featured swimwear for the second season in a row, riffing on the house’s tailoring styles, as well as logo-printed brassieres, shorts and leggings — “because the Balmain woman definitely does yoga,” laughed Rousteing.