Olivier Rousteing’s autumn/winter 2013 collection for Balmain is an undeniably brave step, melding together Asian inspired styles with a bureaucratic Edwardian English influence, whilst throwing in a touch of sport-luxe for good measure.
After taking over from Christophe Decarnin in April 2011, Rousteing is already stamping his own vision onto the successful French fashion house by gathering inspiration from all around the globe, culminating in an outpouring of different cultural references in his latest work.
Cummerbunds are seen around the waists of flamboyantly patterned fitted jackets, whilst trousers were replaced with sarouel style, wide legged, harem pants. Ceremonial embellishments, in homage to martial art style dress, were also seen and formations of kimono variations were referenced throughout the collection, with accents of the orient present in all the outfits. Overall, not your everyday attire.
Somehow, this varied plethora of colour, shape and pattern was toughened up and modernised with the addition of an oversized leather jacket; the signature piece of the fashion house, showing a faithful respect for the old formulae on Rousteing’s part. Tailoring was given a sports vibe with the addition of oversized bombers and quilted ski jackets, which overlaid exotic tailoring.
The collection lookbook photos were shot in a regency style, elaborately decorated room with gold carvings in white wood panelling, adding even more depth to the huge number of cultural and historical inspirations covered by the collection. Every differing detail in it deemed another totally anachronistic, and yet the collection felt satisfyingly whole.
In sartorial terms, this collection traversed more ground than an average person will in a lifetime – from Asian climes to the style of an alpine ski resort – and perhaps that is what makes it all the more gratifying.