Updated: Oct 13
Olivier Rousteing presented Balmain's SS23 collection with thought-provoking designs. One for the books!
A collection full of details, references, eco-friendly twirls and trompe - l'oeil.
A spicy cocktail of cultures and the music choice were a full circle moment.
This collection has many layers to it, for some it seems easy but the reality of each reference is far from easy. Let's connect the dots of this artistic grandeur.
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The french expression for ''Rebirth''. Renaissance fashion was truly reflective of a person's social and economic status. Depending on your class, you were only allowed to wear certain dresses or outfits. The rich upper class would flaunt their haute tailored clothing, while the poor lower class would be stuck wearing rags. It was a way to show how much power and money you had. What was the strict norm back then, is no longer a force we have to conform to. A lot of deconstruction in fashion, beauty, socio-cultural space is happening. While still maintaining the ancient foundation for inspiration, the new pillars of society will shape our view on humanity generations to come.
Rousteing has also referenced ''Nature'' in an artistic approach. The elements of fire and earth were in contrast. The flames symbolizes #globalwarming and the dresses made from the raffia material, stands for #nature. The platform shoes with a stone-esque aestetic, is a great reference to #earth. #NatureVerse explores the beautiful and unusual symbiosis between the technological and the organic. The impact of climate change has become gut-wrenching and is evoking urgent, poignant changes. According to forecast experts, by 2024, #multispeciesthinking – which puts all of nature, including humans, at the centre of design- will be the new norm. In the fashion world, #natureverse refers to clothing and/or accessories made from sustainable or eco-friendly materials.
#OlivierRousteing and his team executed excellently this message with attention to detail.
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Cocktail of Cultures
The braiding on some of the dresses reminded us of the African braiding technique. Also, this ''Michelangelo'' painting style on the dresses is a direct reference to European culture. On top of that, both cultures also represent Rousteing's cultural identities. These two cultures have an uneasy history together, but by mixing these two, the bitter after-taste of race conflict is hopefully gone after ''7 seconds''.
A ''Seven Second'' Message to Humanity
At the end of this collection's presentation, the 90's legendary song by Youssou N'Dour feat. Neneh Cherry set the vibe. Black models with raffia couture dresses made an epic and emotional entrance. It was an admiring silence, because of the breathtaking tailoring, and emotional for this simple yet difficult reason- black is beautiful.
'' And when a child is born into this world, it has no concept of the tone, the skin it's living in. It's not a second. We're seven seconds away but just as long as I stay. I'll be waiting...''
'' J'aimerais qu'on oublie leur couleur pour qu'ils espÈrent beaucoup de sentiments de races qui font qu'ils désespÈrent. Je veux les deux mains ouvertes...'' (French).
Translated: (I would like their color to be forgotten so that they hope for a lot of race feelings that make them despair. I want both hands open)
The music changes to ''Strong Enough'' by Cher. Yes indeed, #Cher closed the show and walked up the stage with Rousteing hand-in-hand. That's the reason why we said, that this collection was phenomenal and a full circle moment in storytelling. Chapeau!
Rewatch the Balmain Spring/Summer 2023 by Olivier Rousteing here:
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