I often find myself pointing out that fashion, alongside many other form of artistic expressions, is much close to our nowadays society and in its own unique way contributes to its development too. Fashion is both a cultural and social phenomenon, and can definitely help raise awareness towards certain topics or even help strengthen a harmed society. That’s precisely what Olivier Rousteing had in mind while refining his newest Balmain pre-fall 2016 collection, as he clearly took his skills to celebrate his homeland, France, and above all its precious capital city, Paris.
“Paris is the City of Light, and I want to switch on the lights again,” he declared, revealing the concept behind a collection that, although being at times tacky, takes its time to turn the light on one of the human history’s darkest moments.
Rousteing’s list of influences included Madame de Pompadour too, also known as the official chief mistress of King Louis XV. In the perfect Balmain style, Rousteing mixed those past decades with ours, giving birth to what may be considered as a modern-day version of Madame de Pompadour. He, in fact, combined lavish and intricate voluminous frocks, with layers and frills blissfully recreating a royal Versailles style, with what a XXI-century mistress would actually wear, namely corsets, décolletage-baring gowns and see-through strapless tops. In doing so, he also opted for some solid Moulin Rouge vibes that, to be fairly honest, are always a good idea. Then, to top it all off, he even added his at this point signature Baroque touch, for which he keeps on being criticized and often not fully appreciated.
The Balmain pre-fall 2016 collection’s main protagonist is undoubtedly lace, as its see-through effect perfectly recreates what the French fashion designer had in mind while designing his very own cortège de femmes. To make everything look even more sumptuous, as if all those frills and layers weren’t enough, he often mixed the many lace embroideries with velvet fabrics, adding luxurious cascades of crystal and pearl appliqués to nearly each one of the proposals.
Instead of only focusing on short and long dresses, he also explored the pantsuit trend by making it look as regal as possible, with some clear references to the rococo movement and the Eighties. One of the eccentric decades in fashion was the Eighties, and Rousteing couldn’t exempt himself from adding Eighties-inspired prints and puffy shoulders to his pre-fall 2016 proposals, which seem to be a natural continuation of the Baroque decades. That’s also why the lineup features some well-tailored structured layers too, which just get along so well with the striped and squared black-and-white patterns.
To reinforce the ‘turn the lights on’ concept, he finished off almost each one of his outfits with bright statement jewelry, the brightness of which not only lights up the dark but also truly acknowledges the fact that fashion will always be an essential part of our society.
Photos courtesy of Vogue