Balmain Spring/Summer 2013 Paris Fashion Show

September 28, 2012 By:

Balmain puts the “B” in BIG shoulders. Again.

The Parisian luxury label showed off some clever remodeling of its pointy shoulder pads, a feature that will always feel brave and bold in fashion.

It’s the third rotation from the mind of Olivier Rousteing, the 27-year-old French designer who recently replaced designer Christophe Decarnin who famously concocted those crystallized canvas jackets. There were so many crystals on those double-breasted beauties they could’ve centered a James Bond plotline around them or green lit a new installment of Indiana Jones titled “Indiana Jones & The Balmain Wardrobe of the Crystal Coats”.

This year, Rousteing recited his references as “Latin cool,” smooth operator/songstress Sade, ‘90s urban rap, yet you wouldn’t have picked up on any of that (minus the proudly ‘90s hoop earrings) from this otherwise court-like collection—stern and magniloquent.

Models paraded down the runway in super structured pieces: power suits that channeled Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman (if Ms. Vivian Ward was a gangster) and high-waisted tapered leather trousers and mini skirts that were Herb Ritts photo shoot ready. Also, crop tops were given a moment in the sun for spring. You might want to start brushing up on that tan.

The use of wicker—the spine of the entire collection—was something of a coin toss. In some places like cropped jackets or woven along the edges of dresses they worked. At other times the silhouettes became overtly rigid and overbearing, in the case of a couple high neckline full length sleeved dresses that looked like pretty heads sticking out of picnic baskets that had me asking, “While you’re in there, would you pass the wine?”

Monochrome diamond checkerboard prints that were both vividly Versailles and sensually Suspiria dominated, until near the end of the presentation where a rush of denim hit the catwalk like an extinguishing splash of cool water on a campfire of arid and branchlike materials.

Balmain calls itself “ready-to-wear,” but this time around, only for the likes of the Kanye West re-programmed version of Kim Kardashian, Blake Lively (maybe), Alexa Chung, Vicotria Beckham, and Anna Dello Russo. There’s even this off-the-shoulder yellow wicker woven number fastened at the waist with a metallic buckle that’s every part tough, yet feminine, and could easily fit into Kristen Stewart’s high fashion tomboy in a mini dress image.