RUNWAY REVIEW: Balmain Fall 2016 Ready-to-Wear
Balmain’s Fall Ready-to-wear 2016 collection was all over Instagram. Not for the beautifully designed garments, the amazing workmanship and the success of the runway, but much rather the supermodels’ hair switch ups which caught the world’s attention.
Balmain’s creative director Olivier Rousteing created what was coined a #BalmainArmy at his show at Paris Fashion Week. Supermodels by the likes of Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Alessandra Ambrosio all sported different coloured wigs in opposition to their natural colour. It’s a sure way to guarantee media attention. Add a collection inspired by Kim Kardashian and watch the fashion crazed go wild over social media.
Many critics had a lot to say about the use of this frenzy inducing ploy. There was backlash about creating a ‘Kim’ collection; figure hugging dresses, thigh high boots, the use of pastel tones. I agree it was amusing to see the models with different hair colours. There are apps that I’m sure we’ve all tried which alter our hair colours. I’m still sure that I wouldn’t make a good blonde but that’s a different story.
Rousteing is a clever figure in fashion. And clever doesn’t even cut it. When you look at it, what he did was genius. In the age of social media where content is flashed before our eyes in a matter of seconds before temporarily disappearing with the swipe of a finger, a little shock value never goes astray. What I find sad, however, are the lengths designers must go to for their collections to be deemed successful in the 21st century.
When images of the show flooded my Instagram feed, I was initially mesmerised by Rosie as a brunette. Talk about bringing out her killer cheekbones. But what remained after that fleeting fascinating was a love and longing for the look worn by Josephine Skriver. A beautiful tasselled dress that I can’t seem to forget about. So while the adrenaline of the show was over, I was able to appreciate the craft of the garments. The true essence of fashion behind the bright lights, filters and hashtags.
The intricacy of the dress in the beading, tasselling and the lines of pearls rolling off the chest brought the collection from mainstream to couture. It had elements of the boudoir: blush tones, the tassels of lampshades, lingerie like corsets, delicate beading and pearls against the skin. The belted waist added to the shapeliness of the look, accentuating the feminine features of the waist, shoulders and décolletage. The use of suede added to sensuality of the entire look. Not forgetting to mention the dizzying movement of the tassels as Skriver walked down the runway.
A modern take on the Victorian corset dress with the tassels providing volume and drama, it was a 2016 collection with underlying historical references. Coupled with the thigh high boots I noticed the undertone of Western American fashion; a dominant woman in charge of her femininity. And while this may seem obvious to fashion folk, this deeper ‘reading’ really allows for a greater understanding of artistic value.
So while Kim still saturates our screens and Gigi Hadid dates Zayn, fashion remains a constant yet paradoxically changing force. Interestingly, Rousteing’s lampshade look was not entirely dissimilar to Jeremy Scott’s Moschino chandelier dress. What’s next? A torch? A match? A lighter? Burn bright little flame.