30 September 2010

PFW S/S '11 Report: Balmain

A catwalk show in the ballroom of the Grand Hotel in Paris is always something special. The imposing room with its enormous Baroque chandelier makes the clothes look so much more fabulous. Except that is, at today’s Balmain's show - which was essentially a show of jeans, T-shirts and leather jackets.

The show began with the dulcet tones of Frank Sinatra singing “My Way”. By the time the first model emerged the “My Way” was now being screamed by Sid Vicious and we saw the very curvaceous (for catwalk standards anyway) Daria Werbowy speed-walking the catwalk in a leather jacket covered in a hundredweight of studs with a ripped-off part of the American flag sewn into its back. Her trousers were skinny-legged jeans with plenty of slices in them.

OK, so we’re picking up a bit of a punk theme here. And so it came to pass. The whole show riffed glam punk in the way only Balmain’s designer Christophe Decarnin knows how. That is the DIY punk look with bells, or rather crystals on. So for S/S '11 you’ve got blue denim shorts, white denim jackets, black jeans, graffitied T-shirts, black leather mini-skirts, the occasional corset and some gorgeous white double-breasted jackets all worn on the runway the way a trendy teenager would do - short, tight and sexy. At first glance you might be thinking 'I’m sure I can buy this in Camden Market'. Nope. With Balmain, every milimeter of leather and denim is covered with silver studs and twinkly Swarovski crystals. The racer back tanks are artfully streaked with what looks like blood, but is more likely to be some rare pigment from a flower that only grows the Amazon.

For all that, you’ve got to love Balmain. It might look at first glance like you could make it in your bedroom, but the materials, cut and finish on these are so uber-luxe you’ll need a second mortgage to buy a piece.

- Melanie Rickey, Fashion Editor at Large, in Paris


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