This was one of those collections which I had to pore over numerous times before deciding whether or not I liked it. Without a doubt, it is over the top and outrageous in its glamour- traditional Balmain, really. Inspired by words of wisdom from the wonderful Diana Vreeland:"extravagance is my only reality", this collection takes opulence to the extreme. The 80's are a big inspiration here, with perhaps a hint of David Bowie circa Ziggy Stardust or Alexander McQueen's Resort 2013 (see my review here). Big shoulders, skinny tailoring and exaggerated silhouettes merge seamlessly with opulent tones of turquoise, purple and a particular shade of hot pink that was definitely last seen in the 80's. Print is a key factor too- with some looks seeming almost Katrantzou-like in their intricacy. Detailed prints will always add a punch to any outfit and Balmain's creative director, Olivier Rousteing loves to mix cultures together to create a unique one- for this collection he looked to Arabic influences as well as Oriental materials, meaning almost every look has a different print element. Traditional Balmain styles remain strong points- boxy jackets, mini-skirts, skinny trousers, accentuated waists. And being Pre-Fall, the conundrum of keeping warm yet looking stylish is solved with shiny leggings and tailored trousers. But be warned, everyone who knows fashion knows that Balmain is not a label for wallflowers.
Balmain Pre-Fall 2013: