For his 2016 Pre-Fall collection, Balmain’s Creative Director Olivier Rousteing was inspired by the rich colors and extraordinary craftsmanship of 18th-Century Versailles, in particular the elegant and sensual style of Madame de Pompadour.
Her signature silhouette is echoed in this collection’s many riffs on the corset. In addition to the suede corsets layered over transparent lace designs, many of the collection’s shoes, skirts and jackets reference the corset’s eyelets, laces and hooks.
Versailles’ opulence is reflected in the luxurious fabrics that Rousteing employs, including a variety of cashmeres, Jacquards, silks, and paisleys in a range of deep, regal tones. Several repeating motifs, including beaded fringes, hanging tassels, thick ruffles and bold gold accents, were inspired by elements spotted among the ornate decoration of the sprawling palace’s interiors. Accordingly, Balmain’s craftsmen have included an abundance of detailed embroideries, complicated leather weavings and masterful pleating throughout.
While inspirations may spring from centuries past, Rousteing stresses that this is a collection for the modern women of his generation: “You need to remember that Madame de Pompadour was a fighter. Although she was constantly attacked by the snide critics of her time as much for her origins as for her championship of new ideas in philosophy and art, she rose to become a legendarily powerful woman. Her spirit is the same one we see in the modern confident women who wear Balmain today.”
You can really see it come through with the beautiful embroidery, high-waist, and form-fitting silhouettes. The use of lavish buckles on waist-cinching belts, hand-held clutches, velvet boots and corsets fit for any queen are so unique. I especially love the beaded fringe detail on some of the gowns, no doubt we will see some of these magnificent pieces on the red carpet for the award season.
Balmain have also just announced their children’s line, how cute! We already know North West is a huge fan thanks to her family being great friends with the designer.