PFW AW14: Balmain

For Olivier Rousteing this season doing what one does best is a noble gesture, something which designers should, by all means, always aim to sustain more often, henceforth, Balmain’s formidable jungle warrior empress took charge, in stocky combat trousers, cargo jackets and cutting pleats. The acclaimed creative director, along with his fervid Safari exoticism, pronounced this vehemence without omission, supporting it by declaring “I’m French, I’m black, and I’m proud to be at Balmain, but this is a message of freedom and globalism.”



Though surely it was slightly hard to impart the message of emancipation with harnessing silk cord, gold chains and ritualistic Maasai-esque styling, binding the body with bandaged leather, elongating the body by hooping the tubular female frame, but undeniably, it makes an alluring statement. An armoured shield of knotted leather made for a racy dress, sported by the enamouring Rosie Huntington-Whiteley superbly, Rousteing also worked on ruching leather, exhibiting an ability to drape flowing leather, but the use of leather was, as is to be expected, most effective when crafted into oversized biker jackets.

The designer, who regularly takes advantage of his all-star associations with the likes of Rihanna, guest of honour at yesterday’s show, despite her shoddy punctuality, pushed the most clear-cut peplums seen this season, panelled with a gradient chorus of knitted leather and gold chains, and when positioned over militant leather trousers make for an effective look. The colour scheme of rich sandy hues, set against slick blacks, feels mature, spiced up by a few wild leopard and zebra prints, encouraging the consuming details of embellished, exaggerated shoulders, and a touch of Alaia, placing his female on a proverbial pedestal.



Rousteing later commented that he was inspired by “the here and now – the world my generation and I inhabit”, so I guess there was a slight sense of brutish tension, his perception of the world that he shares with his generation, but in effect, he couldn’t make a false step by empowering his armour-shelled trooper to be prepared for all that life throws at her.

By Liam Feltham

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