PFWM AW19: Balmain

BOLD, uncompromising and fearless. Balmain’s AW19 show presents the epitome of cool and confident fashion at Paris Fashion Week Men.

The polished floor reflects the cool blue lights that line the walls of the rectangular space. Steady rock pop music reverberates around the space as the models strut across, along and around the space. Oliver Rousteing’s continues his reign of glamour as Creative Director of the fashion house, a position he received at the age of 25. Over the last eight years, the fashion world has watched with eager eyes as Rousteing’s vision materialised again and again, each show embodying the very spirit of Balmain in a daring fashion.

A palette of grey check, glossed leather black, Arctic white and blue-wash denim burst onto the scene. The show opens with a series of reimagined formal menswear — a full tuxedo with silken white waistcoat is succeeded by looks that feature a jacket without sleeves, the shirt component replaced by a longline white sweatshirt and dress shoes are replaced by chunky trainers.

Each style collides with each other as the looks keep coming: a biker jacket composed of half-leather and half-denim, a check longline trench coat tied at the waist with a leather belt and spray-paint-detailed sweatpants accompanying a preppy boating jumper.

The quirky combinations of fabric didn’t stop there, as denim shirts were worn under velvet bolero jackets and striped knitwear pieces featuring sleeves of rouched leather and puffer-coat detailing. Almost every model wore sunglasses, either oversized round frames or steampunk-style silver spectacles.

Spray paint heavily features as the show comes to an end, featured on bags, shoes and even across the edges of a leather jacket. Bold phrases are emblazoned across white t-shirts in block capitals, illustrating Rousteing’s stand against cyber bullying, something he himself has  suffered from for many years.

This collection is the perfect message to those facing hate online or to those feeling overwhelmed by a society with rigid standards, as Balmain pull those standards apart and fashions them together with a new set of empowering rules.

by Lucy May McCracken

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