Balmain Fall Winter 2019-2020 Paris Fashion Week. Balmain plays in black and white combinations, while romance brings pastel shades: lavender, mint and sky blue. This time, one of the most prominent items in the collection is the plethora of textures, from dense metal needles, feathers, three-dimensional flowers to fluffy yarns and flabby tweeds.
Olivier Rousteing leaned on romance for a vibe that was “sweet poison” as he called it. For fall, Olivier Rousteing may have been inspired by troublemakers, but it was a gateway to one of the more conventionally wearable collections he’s shown to date.
The brand that has made jackets with linebacker shoulders its stock and trade went light on the look, and in a season when it’s turned up everywhere from Yves Saint Laurent to Dries Van Noten, too. Instead, Rousteing leaned more on romance, channeling his rock ‘n’ roll spirit (and a few winks to “Rue Cambon” Chanel) through Easter egg pastel hues, pleated miniskirts resembling armor, looser tailoring and lighter fabrications (in the best exits), for a vibe that was “sweet poison” as he called it.
Coming off showing his first couture collection for the house in January, Rousteing said he is thinking differently about ready-to-wear. “She’s younger,” he said of his woman this season, and the clothing is “more relaxed.”
The opener, a tweedy black drop-shoulder jacket with wide satin lapels that had the ease of a cardigan, and matching short skirt with feathery trim. Never mind that the allover studding could pose a problem when sitting: The look had charm, especially when worn with a studded headband and flat studded shoes.
He worked black silk georgette panels into a boucle check cardigan jacket and maxiskirt, as well as a duster coat with armor-like white boucle shoulders for a lighter take on tailoring. And there was a lot of denim to love: clean, baggy white jeans or cuffed blue jeans topped with soft knits with feathers, for example, or the more decorative pale blue distressed options shimmering in allover clear-sequin embroidery, and sure to send many women’s hearts racing.
Plasticized corsets anchored dresses and tops exploding with 3-D flower embroidery, and shoulders were bared in pastel-hued studded biker jackets with slashed sleeves paired with jeans for a casual ease.
There were a few clunkers, especially the more loaded up on decoration things got. One miniskirt was so dense with beading, it stood out straight and made the model look like a ballerina in search of a music box. And the last group of all-black sequin-coated or glossy vinyl looks veered into Disney villain territory. It was overkill in a collection that was already impressive enough. It should be a cue to Rousteing that he can exhale, edit his vision down to fewer looks perhaps, and still say a lot.