For the Balmain Pre-Fall 2019 collection, Olivier Rousteing introduced a new logo over top a lineup of architectural Asia fantasia seen through fierce, three-dimensional minidresses.
“I’ve been obsessed with making Balmain a strong French house. And when everyone is really struggling to understand where fashion is going, I wanted to look back and remember why fashion has been relevant,” he said. “And of course, it’s important to understand what people want today; people want to be real but they want to dream as well.”
The color images draw attention to some of the crazy craftsmanship that transformed sleeves into spiky scaled dragons, juxtaposed plastic pieces with crochet, and showered surfaces with large crystal confetti. The embroidery patterns were packed with Japanese characters, nature elements, and mythological motifs derived from traditional tattoos, or else comparatively minimal as glistening geometries against backdrops of velvet or quilted leather. Exaggerated volumes that suggested rigid, deconstructed kimonos added to the drama.
Black jackets contrasted with sharply jutting lapels and oversize cuffs in white stood out as ’80s-redux chic, especially when paired with stonewashed denim in cuts that were slouchy but sexy. The fancy denim puffer coat was an excellent idea—so good that it is bound to be copied repeatedly. Along with the boldly colored corduroys, forgiving tweeds, and pajama pants that sparkled, this was Rousteing giving current or prospective Balmain customers the go-to pieces, not just collector’s items.
“We’re starting to get such a strong identity,” he said. “We’ve reached the level where you see who I am and who is the brand.” Indeed, they are indistinguishable.