The Balmain A/W '09 show in three words: shoulders, sex and sparkle. After all, since everyone else seems to be referencing Christophe Decarnin's last Balmain collection this season, why change a winning formula? Dresses sparkled, encrusted with sequins, crystals or rhinestones in black, silver or royal blue. Where they were short they were very short and skin tight. Where there was length it was a full skirt at the back and taken thigh-skimming short at the front, or slit right to the knickerline. There was nothing subtle about it. You only had to listen to the pumping high-energy soundtrack of disco beats (Michael Jackson, Sister Sledge) to realise this collection was all about youth and confidence. The French Vogue editors sitting almost sideways on the front row their S/S '09 Balmain shoulders were clashing so badly nodded along in approval. But it was the loyal Balmain customers Christophe Decarnin's spies would have been watching. They're the one who've shelled out thousands of pounds on last season's collection - so no doubt they'll be pleased to see the huge shoulders have still got legs for A/W '09 - and they were rewarded with front row status normally reserved for fashion editors and buyers. It's a clever move. But an unnecessary one if you listen to the head buyers at Browns Boutique in London. Erin Mullaney told us they just can't keep Balmain in the store - even the shoes are selling out almost instantly. Given the continuity in this collection, it seems inevitable then that Balmainia will reign long into winter. And we have a feeling we'll see it popping up plenty on the red carpet too.
The shoulder still rules!
Christophe's take on Breton - a sequin white with navy stripes dress
Really extreme harem pants in silk jersey
The fierce Giuseppe Zanotti shoes
Standout sparkling dresses
- Siobhan Mallen
Get the lowdown on every key show from Paris Fashion Week here: extreme silhouettes at Gareth Pugh, eighties inspiration at Balenciaga, and sheer elegance at Rochas. Plus don't forget to check back here for the latest reports!