Never underestimate the power of a Balmain woman. Or designer Olivier Rousteing, for that matter. While Fall 2014 welcomes a most relaxed collection from Olivier, the sense of confidence is just as potent as ever, proving that power does not lie in the cut of a dress or jacket. It’s all in the spirit. The Rihanna-induced spectacle aside (the crowd outside waiting for the appearance of their favorite bad gal rivaled that of most concerts!), we saw a more laidback take than we’ve seen in years from the bold French fashion house.
Sharp shoulders of past gave way to looser fit. This is structure sans confinement, with the trademark Balmain silhouette I know and love still firmly in tact. This new breed of woman is shaking off the thigh-grazing mini-dresses of past seasons. “In 2014, you can be sexy without exposing two meters of legs,” said Rousteing. Instead, she is being more strategic about her reveal, showing skin by way of sheer paneled tops (all of which are incredibly ornate), majorly deep V-necklines, and cutouts and crop tops for a highly effective hint of midriff.
She is also ready to go anywhere and do anything. Her gear? Layers of leather and cargo pockets abound. Say, a heavy leather jumpsuit, no-nonsense lapels framing a neckline cut down to there or an armor-like cocktail dress constructed entirely of draped ropes.
Leopard prints look particularly fierce against pops of hot coral, bold stripes of black and white are especially effective against slightly more subdued spots and zigzags, and electrifying bursts of searing orange and yellow lamb furs, belts, and jewels amp up the energy. Rousteing has also successfully reinvigorated the peplum (think warrior-like pleats, not your sister’s prom dress), which manage to soften the safari-inspired collection, as do the wide, waist-cinching belts of clean weaves, ethnic beads, and thick bands of leather (the same belts were seen later on dancers at the Crazy Horse at the after-party.)
Safari garb and hip-hop-inspired streetwear merge seamlessly in this collection, in a way only Olivier Rousteing can deliver. He declared it “a message of freedom and globalism.” Now that we’re feeling so free, the fight begins: who will be Queen of the Balmain Jungle come fall?