#SuzyPFW: Balmain’s Operatic Moment; Paco Throws A Disco
Balmain goes back to school
With walls of flowers in its grand hallway and celebrities mounting the plush stairs, Olivier Rousteing’s Balmain show took him back to his childhood.
“It’s a letter to myself, to the kid I was at 10-years-old and my first visit to the Paris Opera,” the designer said backstage, surrounded by models in their sparkling, sensual outfits.
“I am talking to the Olivier I was, telling him that he had a lot of dreams and today I achieved what he was dreaming,” said the designer, 32.
“For the sense of freedom I feel today, I went through many things – judgement, criticism, being controversial. But today is about freedom, of feeling really French, part of Paris, Parisian – yet not losing the first emotion that I had when I arrived at the opera.”
Olivier went on to talk about being an adopted child and how the show was dedicated to his parents, who were in the audience.
“It’s a big thank you to the family that taught me values, love, freedom – and that’s the message to fashion I am giving now,” he said.
It is rare for an artistic soul to open up so frankly, but his words explained much of the collection. It was still bright, brash, full-on glamour, but there were other signs and symbols, The show opened with a pair of dungarees, something a kid might have worn, but modelled by Natalia Vodianova and in shiny black patent leather with metallic chain straps.
A T-shirt with a blazoned badge print was teamed with another high-shine skirt. Even a black and white trouser suit was dramatically decorated with a fluffy fringe and squares of prints on the pants.
Yet for all the razzmatazz, the spirit was softer, not so in-your-face sexy. As always with Balmain, these women seemed as much in control of their over-the-knee leather boots, their body-conscious outfits – rich in surface decoration – as of their lives.
Sexuality in this millennium – and maybe it takes someone of that age to understand it – is the choice of the wearer. With over half of the show played out in black and white, with the addition of bright blue and red, the Balmain collection became a march past of glamour. The finale was headed by the designer himself as leader of a new female cause – far from his schoolboy days.
Paco Rabanne: Disco! Disco! DISCO!!!
Models came out at the Paco Rabanne show at such a fast pace it was difficult to glimpse anything of the tiny silver lamé skirts or the glitter of mini and sporty outfits.
They went diagonally across the dance floor, music fast and furiously loud, a group of people – perhaps bloggers – standing inside a circle drawn on the floor.
All this seemed a doubtful fit with the original ‘wacko Paco’, who for all his sixties bravado did at least let the audience see his metallic constructions. Designer Julien Dossena seems to have inherited from his mentor Nicolas Ghesquière, the idea that a catwalk show should be here now, gone in a second.
But the designer, at 35, has a sense of NOW with his throw-on, have-fun clothes. The show might have begun with chain mail that came via Paco and then Gianni Versace, into this millennium. Looking harder (if only!) at the clothes rushing by, the stand outs were not so much those pieces in cold, hard metallic, but rather softer chiffon dresses or shorts. They were worn over matching underwear or elongated outfits with a Paisley pattern, even on the silver surfaces.
What was the designer aiming to say with legs wrapped in chains to emulate frayed jeans and the occasional silken, side draped dresses. Both seemed like excellent pieces but went by much too fast.
After the noise and chaos, I sat down to look at the silver paper with poetic words written by Guillaume Dustan, a French writer and journalist, in 1997. It captured a moment in a night club when everyone had left and he put back on his T-shirt, flopped on to a chair and put his feet up on a low table. There was something deeper at the heart of this Paco Rabanne show that was hidden in its speed and noise.