One of my favourite bits of university research has been reading snippets of Pierre Balmain's autobiography My Years and Seasons. Balmain wrote about designing through the Occupation, working for Lucien Lelong and meeting another budding designer, Christian Dior. He talked about how they would hang out with Christobal Balenciaga and how he eventually decided to create his own fashion house. Balmain and Dior worked together at Lucien Lelong, and during Balmain's going away party, Dior had to leave because he was so upset. Nearly 70 years later, the House of Balmain is still going strong.
I feel as though I've said this a few times but Olivier Rousteing's Spring 2012 collection might be one of my favourite collections of the season. It was only April of this year that the 25 year old Rousteing was named designer at Balmain, replacing Christophe Decarnin. At this young age, Rousteing already had 5 years experience at Roberto Cavalli under his belt (as well as 2 years working under Decarnin.) Among others, New York Times magazine demonstrate some apprehension as to whether Rousteing would experience as much success has Decarnin has done as head designer at Balmain, but this Spring collection shows that Rousteing has the talent and the guts to pull off a well-tailored and ambitiously adorned line of women's clothing.
At the same time, Rousteing isn't taking any huge steps away from Decarnin's previous aesthetic. Both are masters of cutting a fierce jacket, have a propensity for edgy rocker style, and Rousteing seems to be carrying on the smatterings of gold that Decarnin's made use of for a few seasons. (We all remember that infamous gold bathing suit that made covers on at least 3 international women's fashion magazines, yes?)
Rather than give into the omnipresent colour and floral trends popping up all over spring runways, Rousteing seems to have instead opted to display a number of different textures and techniques. His work demonstrates an amazing amount of detail, rich use of gold, minimalist yet elegant use of blacks and whites, and even denim and quilting. Decarnin and Rousteing's Balmain lines have often been described as "rock and roll," but for some reason, both seem to have the ability to make rock and roll look effortlessly rich and put together.
It was incredibly difficult to choose favourites, but here they are:
Posted by: Carla