Balmain Celebrates Diversity And Traditions

AP/ AFP – An orphan from posh Bordeaux, where doors were closed to him because of his race, Rousteing said he explored how those same doors suddenly flung open when he became a top designer in Paris. “I learned from an early age that certain classes, clubs and cliques were closed off to someone who looked like me,” he said.

“Many of the codes of a world that was once beyond my reach are key parts of this collection… (that) adapts those symbols of upper-class exclusion and twists them.” In that vein, in the display, he delivered a street-cred makeover to traditional styles — such as silk scarf patterns, classic equestrian looks and the signature harlequin crisscross patterns — ones executed in cognacs and intense blues on rich fabrics such as jersey.

The bourgeois harlequin motif adorned billowing African-style capes, and equestrian leather waders. Rousteing’s passion was evident in the pure exuberance. The show opening included a dozen models in exactly the same look — a chic double-breasted wool coat with the house DNA of six gold buttons. It evoked the mood of an urban gang.

There were plenty of hits. A loose pastel brown leather pantsuit hybrid subverted the cinched-waist silhouette of house founder Pierre Balmain’s Jolie Madame look. Instead of a belt there was a clutch bag on its front, resembling a fanny pack. With its thick leather ruffles, it was surely the collection’s best look.