In the runup to the Balmain Spring/Summer 2024 womenswear show, news broke that 50 items of its SS24 womenswear collection were stolen on their way from a Paris airport last week. Despite this disaster, the show still went on – in all its glory.
The collection was titled “Florals for Spring? Groundbreaking” and served as an obvious reference to The Devil Wears Prada. Much like the book and later film accurately depict, the pre-show period is always stressful for designers, but this season must have felt particularly so at Balmain. Creative Director Olivier Rousteing, publicly announced the hours he was working ahead of the show, which echoed Andrea Sachs. “We will work more, days and nights. Our suppliers will work days and nights as well,” he said.
Nonetheless, show guests arrived as curious as they were excited, eagerly waiting to see what the brand had in store. Of course, for Balmain, attracting a celebrity-filled, fashion-thirsty front row is a walk in the park, with the legendary musician and long-standing style icon Cher in attendance. In the days leading up to the event, Beyoncé gave us a sneak peek of what was to come when she wore an unreleased polka dot dress with pearl detailing to perform on the Houston leg of the Renaissance Tour.
The show commenced with a soundtrack featuring the melancholic vocals of Björk’s “Bachelorette.” Out came a fiercely rigid jacket with exaggerated white lapels and gold floral-shaped buttons was paired with a matching skirt in a two-piece which screamed “power suit,” with the help of some square-framed black sunglasses.
Further floral motifs edged into the offering, seen in a black dress which hugged the perimeter of its wearer’s body with its wide open neck, narrowing below the bust, and accented with a leather bag crafted to mirror the appearance of a bouquet. Feminine silhouettes were seen in billowing skirts paired with red heels, complete with a black patent leather toe box.
Rousteing’s collection merged the codes of masculine and feminine dressing through form and structure, pairing a deep green double-breasted blazer, again complete with gold floral buttons, with a loose-fitting ruched skirt.
The floral theme blossomed upon one model, who was dressed in a metallic gold top with red roses extending from the body. Flowers were positioned atop handbags and held by the side of ankle-length dresses, pushing the rose motif onto the wearer.
The nature-rooted theme felt very on-brand for Balmain, a House with a longstanding couture mastery. The label was founded in 1945 in Paris by Pierre Balmain. It is widely cited as revolutionising French style, crafting curve-enhancing silhouettes that brought a revolutionary elegance to women’s fashion, which we saw channelled into looks seen in its SS24 collection. The brand’s current, and longstanding, Creative Director Olivier Rousteing joined the house in 2009, working closely with the then-Creative Director Christophe Decarnin. In 2011, Rousteing took to the helm, being relatively unknown and able to bring rejuvenating energy to the brand whilst remaining true to its couture roots.
Rousteing honoured the French capital’s fashion legacy at the end of the show, choosing to extend the final walk out beyond the venue and onto the street in front of the Eiffel Tower, giving members of the public a chance to see Balmain’s latest collection at the same time as celebrities and fashion insiders.
While shrouded in unfortunate events in the run-up to the show, Balmain’s Spring/Summer 2024 womenswear show was anything but lacklustre. Turning Miranda Priestly’s views on its head, the brand slowly introduced a floral motif, first seen on small details before developing into a display of beautiful maximalism, reflecting a flower’s slow but sure blossoming to full bloom.
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