Balmain Womenswear SS13

Olivier Rousteing focuses on high octane wicker craftsmanship for his Cuba and Miami inspired collection

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As The Smiths' 'Bigmouth Strikes Again' boomed around the room at the Balmain show, it was clear that Rousteing was stepping up to a more assured position as a fairly young creative director at the house. This was his choice of emotive soundtrack, recalling his teenage days and the clothes certainly reflected his particular penchant for visually impacting craftsmanship. Yes, those prevalent shoulders are still as wide and bolshy as ever and yes, the Balmain girl does skew the rockier and wilder side of things but a closer look at the clothes themselves and you’ll be awestruck by the attention to detail. With last season's successful adventure into creating objets d'art with pearl-encrusted and embroidered tops, Rousteing goes down a similar path, this time exploring elements derived from vibrant Miami and Cuba, such as a black and white harlequin check and wicker chairs with intricate baroque scroll patterns. When the woven raffia were worked into mini dresses and jackets, they smacked of statement-making decadence and expense, something that Balmain clearly want to be synonymous with. Monochrome graphics that swirled around the body in boxy jackets and low-cut jumpsuits, resembled ornate floors of bygone ballrooms. Soft leather trousers that billowed at the hips and masculine denim jackets bought the collection back down to earth (even if the prices are still likely to be sky high). In addition to the usual tight drainpipe trousers, Rousteing was pushing a slouchier shape that when paired with a bared midriff top and the bulked out jackets, recalled late 80s and early 90s fierce walks on the runway, complete with a statement bling belt. Baroque 'n' roll still rules at Balmain but the clothes now scream 'Look at me!' for reasons beyond perceived notions of cool.

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