Balmain fetes Rousteing’s 10th anniversary on the Seine
Now that’s what we call a scene-stealing anniversary.
Balmain feted Olivier Rousteing’s 10years at the house on the banks of the Seine on Wednesday night with an all-star cast, over a hundred looks and a multi-set live band concert after-party.
Staged in the city’s latest concert hall, the architectural jewel La Seine Musicale, built on Ile Seguin, on the western outskirts of Paris, there was a frenzy about the event, even before the audience of over 3,000 got into the venue.
The show was a roaring success for Rousteing, the reigning king of high-octane rock-star glamour, with over a thousand fans packed into a standing room fan zone at the catwalk yelling on the cast.
The site of a famous former giant Renault factory, the modernist concert venture had all the right technology for a Balmain show. Like giant LED screens the better to show the models blown up eight meters high.
Imaan Hammam, the Dutch/Moroccan/Egyptian beauty opening the show to an enormous cheer, entering though a 15-meter high wall of light, attired in a cut-out leotard mini cocktail with two thin trains.
Next up, a leotard tuxedo dissected by gold metal link belts, and multiple rouch-and-roll satin dresses.
Rousteing also has the great gift of visually referencing other major brands – from destroyed tweed jackets à la Chanel, or gothic proportions like Rick Owens, or padded leather bags and boots that recalled Bottega Veneta. Yet, somehow, it never looks like he is lifting their ideas, just sampling the mood of the day to better express himself.
Plus, his ability to tweak fabrics is remarkable; an Aran knit made in plastic and seen in a centurion cocktail worn by Natasha Poly. And in a co-ed show, for guys: rock lothario polka-dot velvet suits or a fabulous deconstructed black and white djellaba under a dressing gown tuxedo.
Rousteing has always been a generous gent, from his fabrics to his fetes. The evening was entitled Balmain Festival VO2, with proceeds from the sale of goods in multiple stands going to Red, the Bono-led to project to aid in the fight against AIDS. Post-show, a joint concert featured Franz Ferdinand, Doja Cat and Jesse Jo Stark.
Halfway through Olivier went from black and white to beige – drop-dead gorgeous slinky flesh-toned bodycon dresses or matelassé coats leather for girls, billionaire’s trench-coats for guys. Before a gold rush of Grammy-award-winning bullion embroidered leather jackets and tuxedos, with ragged hems.
A brief pause before he sent on a dozen veterans, in crystal goddess creations, the biggest cheers for Naomi Campbell and Carla Bruni.
Before Rousteing gathered these professionals around him for a final group descent of the 50-meter illuminated catwalk, cheered on every step. A reminder to less courageous designers that fashion should be a great celebration and not some po-faced, serious event staged to polite applause.
Of late there have been rumors that this might be Olivier’s final show, and as he took his bow there was a tearful look in his eye. But if he does quit then it will be at the height of his game, with Balmain re-established as one of the world’s most creative brands.
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