While America’s current political head drums up nothing but drama and controversy, France is feeling an immense amount of pride and ease with their new president, Emmanuel Macron, and Olivier Rousteing made sure to reflect that in his newest collection for Balmain. While there were still a lot of the signature pieces that make up a Balmain collection, such as intricate bandage dresses, and thigh high lace up boots, we also see bags emblazoned with the sentiment, “Love BALMAIN”, and a lot of black and white horizontal striped shirts, a classic French staple.
The biggest statement made in the collection was the use of denim and american western themes, but with a Balmain twist. Denim bustier jumpsuits, and suit jackets with exposed seams were stand-out pieces in the collection. The casual, and relaxed fabric helped with the relaxed feeling Rousteing was trying to get across to us. I also loved the use of macrame, made into military jackets, and bohemian maxi-dresses, said to be inspired by french tapestries.
Another theme that is a bit unexpected to see in a Balmain show is a preppy, and girly aesthetic that is seen through lace boucle jackets with jewel brooches, and bodycon dresses that end with fluffy tulle skirts. Olivier calls them his, “Balmain Ballerinas”, an apt name for the models posing in these dresses. I think this beautiful inspiration brings a feeling of happiness and frivolity to the collection. Much like Rousteing’s overall feeling of tranquility, this small accent makes the collection seem less intense and serious, and adds a softer touch.
Many people dismiss high fashion as a kind of art because they believe there is no way to address a feeling, or express a theme like our current political climate through a collection, in a way that isn’t explicitly literal. But Balmain was able to show his feelings on France’s election in a way that wasn’t easily perceived. I love Balmain’s 2018 resort collection because it’s able to portray the classic high fashion and extravagant world of the brand, but uses different materials, and themes to do it.