Paris Fashion Week
BALMAIN FESTIVAL V03: Renaissance
BALMAIN FESTIVAL V03 finds its conceptual roots in the Horn of Africa, the homeland of Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing’s birth parents, as well as the forests of France, where the brand sourced the organic materials that went into creating the sculptural centerpieces at the heart of the collection. The bark of a chestnut tree became a basket woven bustier, while layers of raffia took the place of tulle to form voluminous underskirts, and twigs and jute cord were stitched and shaped into the swirling bodices of striking gowns. The collection evoked Rousteing’s unique vision of the Renaissance, with romantic drapery and dramatic textiles that channeled the Old Masters. At the end of the show, Rousteing took to the imposing marble runway to embrace a catsuit-clad Cher, as sultry orchestral music gave way to the pulsating beat of the living legend’s classic hit “Strong Enough.” Despite Rousteing’s rational fears of the future of fashion, this collection gestures towards a hopeful rebirth.