Balmain Fall/Winter 2017

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Olivier Rousteing’s Fall/Winter 2017 output was a spectacle akin to all the collections he has designed during his current tenure at the storied fashion house. It was a cabaret of garmenting at the most grandeur level. Genderless drapery. Bold shapes. Oversized knitwear. Rousteing employed an organized color palette that ranged from monochrome to pattern blocking. He mixed plaid checks with stripes, and argyle with lace. As the show progressed the hues brightened and the patterns took on a life of their own. Throughout the show the clothes moved down the runway in a sort of uniformity. They each had distinctly individual personalities, but blended gracefully into a collective. Thematically speaking, there was a pendulum swinging between military structure and bohemian free flowing. Both served a purpose and drove the conversation of male centered style forward. The collection was robust enough to place the boundary pushing effortlessly alongside the redesigned style tropes of conventional menswear. In the same vein of Chelsea boots and turtlenecks, we saw sheer blouses under sequined blazers, with leggings and knee high boots. Followed by caftans and voluminous tops that resembled dresses. The latter posed a stylized conflict between hard masculinity and polished flamboyance. The heavy-on-bass thumping rock music provided an apt soundtrack for the overload of embellishment that has become a staple in the Rousteing arsenal. It was a Balmain show just like all the rest. Yet it still resonated. Good or bad? Well that’s a question of personal taste.