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Balmain Womenswear S/S12

New creative director Olivier Rousteing comes up with gold by delivering a Western inspired collection featuring ornate embroidery and black leather

You want to say that those Olivier Rousteing had big shoes to fill when coming up with his debut collection for Balmain. However, it's unclear how big Decarnin's shoes were and whether that baroque-rock-mash had run itself into a blocked wall. Having been promoted from within the house, Rousteing clearly showed why he has the chops to take Balmain forward. He quite literally gilded the collection to assuredly assert what made everyone fall head over for Balmain in the first place.

There was a continuity as well as an added richness to the collection that perhaps took the 'rock' out of the equation as jeans and t-shirts were virtually erased (leaving the new diffusion line Pierre Balmain to fill the gap perhaps?). Instead, Rousteing turned to the flamboyance of Western cowboy gear as seen at Nudie Cohn to inject some life into the collection. Intensely rich gold embroidery snaking its way in slightly Mexican-esque embroidery on a minidress and cropped jacket and printed chambray set this Western tone of combining the ornate with the casual.

Black leather worked into maxi skirts, Lucha Libre-type belts and chintzy floral quilted lurex only added to the tackiness levels that actually made it all strangely desirable. For the Balmain girl/woman who has spanked £10,000 on a pair of Balmain jeans, Rousteing's flare in ostentatious decoration will be welcomed with open arms. For the yet to be converted, they best keep an eye on Rousteing's coming seasons as he hopefully gets to inject his own signature into the house.