BALMAIN RESORT 2020: ESSENTIAL NUANCE

Olivier Rousteing is on a roll. Pre-collection sales are up a hundredfold in just five years. Suffice to say, that opens the door to all kinds of opportunities.


Take menswear, for example: The brand’s new shop on the Rue Saint Honoré confirmed the designer’s hunch that Balmain appeals to all ages, whether it’s through classic tailoring or the more elaborate, special pieces, like the full-on embroidered dinner jackets or a poncho with a beaded, crystal-studded Western desertscape in sunset colours. “The American dream can never die, no matter what’s happening,” he quipped, slipping into the poncho himself.

“I’ve always had a very inclusive idea of what fashion means,” the designer mused, as he ran through a crib sheet of how he sees dressing now. “Men are daring more,” he noted. “With #MeToo, women are really confident, but men are also showing even more pride in their own femininity and aspiration without fear of being judged about their sexuality.” That, he said, is a sea change, adding: “Before, men were reluctant to listen to their feminine side. Now, to feel strong, you listen to your feminine side. Embroidery is no longer reserved for women. Men can be glam.” These days, those men may gravitate toward tailored jackets with upright, sometimes layered lapels and biker trousers, for example. “After 10 years of streetwear, I think people are recognizing the chic of tailoring,” Rousteing said. “For me, it’s all about the tailoring.”

That goes for his womenswear, too, whether it’s what he calls his “Parisian” or “Deauville” selections of black and white tweed, or the savvy capsule of yoga pieces he slipped in this season. “I spend a lot of time listening to our customers,” he said. “When you listen to how they live, you realize that they need things to wear to yoga class, as well as pieces for work or going out.” On that end of the scale, the designer pushed into knitwear, echoing his heavily sequined, graphic pieces in black and white lightweight knits, giving a cropped tweed jacket a certain Rue Cambon-meets-Coachella cred with long sweeps of fringe, or tweaking the military leanings on a khaki jacket. One of Rousteing’s favorite pieces in this collection is what he calls the “butterfly jumpsuit,” a black and white number with loopholes at the hips to give the wings full rein.

Elsewhere, the house’s new line of Buzz handbags offers a camera-friendly range of colours, such as teal and violet, a belt/bag strap for versatility of wear, or shopping bag vibes, only in leather.

“I think what is chic today is definitely not trendy. Being chic is almost about going against the trends, being timeless,” he said. “The most important houses are the ones that never try to be something else; they keep their DNA. Not trying to be someone else, that’s the trick. Authenticity is key. You need to be who you are, not chase after fake friends and fake life. You have to be careful of fake reality.” (vogue.com)







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