Olivier Rousteing is having a “Vive la France” moment, evidenced in his resort collection and recent menswear show. Blame it on his collaboration with the Paris Opera, or soon-to-be-launched line of lipsticks with L’Oréal Paris. Or the fact that “politically,” with President Emmanuel Macron in the driving seat, he’s “more proud than ever about the choices that France is making.”
The designer fed an array of French symbols — think tweed and Breton stripes “like you’d find on a Serge Gainsbourg T-shirt” — through the Balmain filter. “This to me is Balmain: It’s fierce, it’s tough, but at the same time there’s a softness and fragility that I’m working on now,” said the designer of a white and pastel body-con macramé dress with black patent leather accents. It was inspired by French tapestries. A range of body-con-meets-ballet numbers ending in tutus were among variations on the theme, paired with gold-buttoned tweed jackets trailing with fringed silk. “They’re my Balmain ballerinas,” Rousteing said.
With a Los Angeles store due to open on July 20, the designer also folded in nods to his second home, the U.S., with western references sprinkled across the collection, from fringed jackets to horse prints. From ballet to Beverly Hills, the common thread was high craft with elaborate material-blocking a signature. Case in point: A zipped, racer-back minidress crafted from myriad sections of lace — made using “maybe one thousand patterns” — that was rich in elaborate handiwork and lingerie-light in terms of cover.