Inspired by Cuba Olivier Rousteing used quite some Latin influences for his spring collection. Harlequin motifs represented it’s black and white tile floors and beautifully woven raffia dresses resembled Cuban wicker chairs. He used these influences and gave the collection as a whole a early nineties twist. Power dressing. Boxy jackets and heavily shouldered dresses made the tiny framed models indeed look powerful, yet sometimes the fit seemed a bit off.
In between the handcrafted embroidered looks a few simpler denim and leather looks popped up too. They didn’t scream as loud as some of the power designs, yet looked cool enough to be heard. With harlequin motifs, stripes, strong shoulders and some very skilled craftsman Rousteing had all the right ingredients for a success collection. Yet if he had held back just a little, the impact would probably have been bigger.
Balmain’s fall will be all about boxy jackets, small pants and tight dresses. Oh and let’s not forget the dazzling detailed Faberge egg-like embroideries that popped up throughout the show. Especially those highly decorated pieces were the most remarkable ones. Even though there won’t be many women who can afford those thousands of hand embroidered pearls and crystals.
Yet as delicate as those pieces were, designer Rousteing still made it look cool and effortless, in line with what Balmain stands for. Besides his gorgeous creations there was not a lot of fuss going on at the show. Models barely wore any make-up, had their hair down (slightly messy) and walked around on their low(er) heels with their hands in their pockets. It’s the easy chic that works so well on the streets and it’s the cool effortless vibe that makes young women love the brand so much.
Though the Balmain look has been quite the same for a few seasons, Rousteing carefully introduced some changes. Jackets became boxier, some flared (velvet) pants were added to the mix of skinnies and even a 7/8 skirt made it’s appearance. It will be hard for the brand to step away from it’s success formula of skinnies and pointed shoulders, but today’s collection proved Balmain is right on track.
Now Olivier Rousteing took over the design-helm at Balmain from Christophe Decarnin the story of superrich and superglamorous still continues. After all, Rousteing was Decarnin’s right hand for years. Las Vegas and bullfighters were his source of inspiration, so there was lots of shimmer on gold or black leather, matador-jackets, suede bustiers and blazers.
The new designer surprised the audience too, with denim skirts and loose (!) pants. What he took from Las Vegas were motel wallpaper patterns for jeans and blazers and floral bedspreads worked into minidresses. Overall it was less rock ‘n roll but still young and sexy.
Balmain is parting ways with Christophe Decarnin, the designer who transformed the dusty old fashion house into a red hot label, coveted by jet-set party girls worldwide. The Paris-based house made the announcement Wednesday, but did not give any details about the reasons behind the decision.
Rumors about Decarnin’s health have swirled since the shy designer failed to appear for a bow after his fall-winter 2011-12 ready-to-wear show last month. At the time, a spokesman for the house dismissed rumors that he was in a mental hospital, saying that he was resting on doctor’s orders.
Decarnin, the mastermind behind Balmain’s now-hallmark peaked-shouldered jackets and ultra-minidresses, joined Balmain in 2005. He came out of nowhere to head the house and with every collection he did for Balmain, sales doubled. So who and what did Decarnin have to thank for all the success?
- The supercool girls. Balmain has become the label of the supercool girls. The girls in London and Paris who work as assistants at fashion magazines, design studios and P.R. firms, or who have some terrific family-tree connections they swing from. They’re 21 or 22 years old. Julia Restoin Roitfeld wears Balmain. So does Charlotte Casiraghi, a daughter of Princess Caroline.
- French Vogue. French Vogue has had a lot to do with Decarnin’s success. He said himself in an interview with NY Times. Roitfeld and her daughter wore Balmain to the Cannes Film Festival. And Roitfeld and her lieutenants Emmanuelle Alt and Marie-Amélie Sauvé — have taken this relatively isolated man and molded him in the image of French Vogue.
- France. The clothes are unmistakenly French. Or like Cathy Horyn of the NY Times put it: “If I see young Bardots and Birkins bobbing around St.-Tropez half naked, I’ve seen precisely what he wants me to see. In their cut and fit, in their energy and implacably dirty sex appeal, these clothes could not have come from anywhere else but France — and not even France but Paris.”
- The sky-high prices. A pair of jeans or a cotton T-shirt cost about a 1000 euro, while a beaded jacket can cost more than 10.000 euro. It’s almost offensive. Decarnin said the prices reflect the quality of workmanship and fabrics, as well as the company’s limited structure. But those high prices might also be part of the message: my stuff costs a lot.
But why did it took so long to become successful? According to Emanuelle Alt – a long time fan and stylist of his shows – Decarnin has the talent, but is too shy. “If you always stay in the shadows and don’t have the connections, it’s more difficult. Some people have a lot less talent, but they push themselves and go out and meet people.’’ Decarnin said he never goes to clubs.
Well, fashion in the street owns a lot to his trashy collections. Looking back, you see the streetwise girls took his punky, rock chick-style, with skinny jeans, T-shirts en fringed boots. Also: the revival of the strong shoulder and the fitted jacket. Even the long, bohemian flowerdresses he did in one of his early collections dominate the coming summer-fashion – although we have to thank Dolce & Gabbana for that too.
Watch a video about the last collection of Christophe Decarnin for Balmain:
Never a dull moment in fashion-land. After the John Galliano-scandal and the rumors about who’s going to replace him, Balmain’s Christophe Decarnin was the next in line to cause gossip and speculations. He was absent from the label’s show and although a spokesperson from the brand insisted he was just feeling unwell and tired, others spread the rumor he was in a mental institution since te beginning of this year.
Let’s hope for Decarnin he is rested by now. And for his collection: it seemed he toned it a bit down, it was actually rather minimalistic – with the black, white, silver and gold. But the designer sticked to the strong shoulders and his favorite mix: skinny pants, jackets, boots, short skirts and T-shirts.
At Balmain Christophe Decarnin continues to mix rock, punk and glam into a sexy collection. Safetypins, studs, torn and bleached jeans, scratched leather and faded prints seemed to be the key-elements – and a huge inspiration for rip-of collections to come.
Decarnin told the press he’s a punk fan, and that his office is full of Sex Pistols-pictures. So he sent out his punk-princesses dressed in faded stars-and-stripes tanktops, acid bleached jeans and biker-jackets with studs and safetypins all over. And not to mention the micro-shorts and mini’s.
It all lookd young, raw and energetic – but to make punk a high end fashion-trend again is a bit too easy. First: the street does it better and more authentic, second stores like H&M and Berschka already sell stuff like this and third who’s going to pay a few thousand euro for an old bikerjacket while you can do it yourself ? We’ll see.
Many of us must have thought it would be time for Balmain to say goodbye to the emphasized shoulders. But just when we thought there couldn’t possibly be any more variations to his pointy shoulders and military influences, Christophe Decarnin impressed us with his glittery, sexy, shoulder-emphasized dresses and military jackets.
The dresses were short and came in gold with black or purple. They had some Baroque-inspired floral patterns on them, made from shiny sequins. We loved the dresses and the whole eighties vibe around them, including Prince’s song ‘Let’s get crazy’, which actually proved to be a good catwalk song.
The pointy shoulders seemed to look the best on the short snappy dresses and on some slim cut jackets. We just didn’t get the same glam rock vibe from the three long dresses. But we suppose they had to represent the small ‘winter part’ of the collection, together with a few tight shiny pantsuits.
Apart from the glitters, the gold and the black Decarnin’s designs were colored purple. The color popped up two or three times: on a fur coat, a dress and a tight velvet jacket.
We can not say this Balmain collection was very renewing but it surely had some amazing success-items in it that will keep the sales as sky-high as they’ve become since Decarnin got involved. Never change a winning look?!
Balmain is the hottest label in town. For spring Christophe Decarnin brought out another whammy of a no-brainer blockbuster: disco cavewoman goes to the front. His army of sizzling, sleek-limbed supergirls strode out with huge-shouldered, metal-epauletted military tailcoats. Their T-shirts were tattered; bullet belts were slung around artfully “destroyed,” stained, and holed jeans or, yet more sensationally, minute, hypersexed, raggedy suede and leather loincloths (the term “skirt” hardly covers it). No wonder the models had fun, these clothes were made to suit their bodies. Daria Werbowy was exclusively booked to do the show.
A few seasons on the runway shoulderpads now definitely hit the stores. While the crowd is taking over this trend, great designers are exaggerating their focus on shoulders and having fun with it. Their pointy or extremely round shoulders are lifted, thickened, adorned and made visible through transparent fabrics. At Balmain’s show the shoulders were still the main aspect of the collection. For 2010 Christophe Decarnin added some fringes on his military jackets for Balmain. The shoulders at the Comme des Garcons show were purposely put in all the wrong places (at the models’ breasts or backs). The brand thus made fun of the whole shoulderpad-trend. The actual shoulderpads were visible through the sheer designs of Jean Paul Gaultier, Viktor & Rolf and Sonia Rykiel. What type of shoulder will they come up with next season? (Tess van Daelen)
Another hot collection from designer Christophe Decarnin for Balmain. The rock chick is still alive and kicking. And she still likes to wear her sexy, bodyhugging dresses, skinny (leather) trousers, miniskirts and jackets with shoulder-pads. Only this time she went a little bit wild: T-shirts were torn and had holes, skirts looked as if they were shredded and dirty colors like militairy-green and shades of brown were favorite. She’ll survive, we know that for sure.