The New Codes of Style

Since taking the creative director reins at Balmain in 2011, Olivier Rousteing has presented collection after collection that seamlessly melds the maison’s heritage with modern-day panache. Baroque embroideries, utilitarian influences, and military details are deftly infused into each season’s offerings, with colors, silhouettes, and styling evolving to mirror the trends and predict the cultural zeitgeist. The recent warp speed at which technology is developing has proven to be an inspirational touchpoint for Rousteing that’s visible in the label’s clothing and accessories, as well as the way in which they’re presented.

“There’s a futuristic approach to all of his runway shows,” says stylist Cassie Anderson. “Olivier plays with technical fabrics, screen printing, elaborate layering, and sleek eyewear.” He leans into vibrant hues and bold accessories too. For Pre-Fall 2022, houndstooth separates are fashioned in video game-esque neon green, and while the house’s signature embroidered dresses are marked by details in bright lime and electric pink. Additionally, Anderson notes there are “1980’s silhouettes with hints of body armor and corsetry, as well as a mixing of textures—from patchwork and lace to beading.”

Among pieces tying the techno-tinged aesthetic together is the Balmain 1945 bag. Fashioned by Rousteing in jacquard and soft leather, the label’s instantly-iconic style comes in a spate of shapes and sizes, designed to be worn on the shoulder, across the body, or as a clutch. In black and embellished with pearls, the Balmain 1945 adds a sophisticated touch to body-hugging mini dresses; it’s a maximalist’s dream when paired with an intricately-beaded jacket.


Quentin Jones

Faux leather neon styles, accented with chain straps and plaque-like clasps emblazoned with “Balmain Paris 1945,” point to Rousteing’s expert melding of past, present, and future. Wear one with a monochromatic Balmain dress for a bold color, or add it to an already eye-popping ensemble. At Rousteing’s Balmain, there are no rules.

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