IN celebration of Balmain’s 75th anniversary, 35-year-old creative director Olivier Rousteing presented a remarkable SS21 collection dripping with 70s glamour, harkening back to the earliest postwar designs of the house’s founder, Pierre Balmain.

The mega show, which took place at the Jardin des Plantes in Paris last night, was an upbeat display of figure-clinging party pieces and sharp-shouldered tailoring, designs which Rousteing had adapted from the brand’s archives.

On a runway engulfed in dry ice, models swayed side to side as A-list guests and editors that included Kris Jenner, Anna Wintour and Jennifer Lopez, watched on from large LED screens that took up the first three rows of seating.

With over two million Swarovski crystals hand-sewn into the collection, this season’s Balmain woman was as dazzling as she was fiery, as she strode barefoot in fluorescent maxi-dresses and severe suiting elongated with dramatic pagoda shoulders.

The house’s original PB monogram, first introduced 50 years ago, was reimagined in monochrome across bell-bottom jeans, paired with 110mm heel sock shoes, and trench coats layered with lockdown-suitable staples that included soft chunky knits and biker shorts.

The men’s looks were just as daring – cropped tuxedo jackets in cashmere and grain de poudre came styled with knee-length denim, while crystal-embellished pullovers were abundant.

For those streaming the show on Instagram IGTV, a one-click shopping function was available, allowing viewers to tap for immediate purchase, or save their favourite pieces for later.

Young, fresh with an admirable acknowledgement of the brand’s heritage, after many months spent in isolation, Rousteing’s SS21 collection for Balmain forecast an optimistic mood post-lockdown. If his prediction is anything to go by, expect to be bedecked in sailor suits and, sparkly pullovers come spring.

by Joshua Hendren

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