Balmain lays inspiration bare for Spring 2013
Literal references and easily identifiable inspirations remain constant at Paris Fashion Week. For Balmain's Spring 2013 show, you could quickly pick Olivier Rousteing's love of interiors out of the line up. The black and white tile and wicker furniture of Miami showed up in prints, detailing and even basket-woven rafia dresses.
A harkening back to the 90s supermodel heydey was much more glamorous and genuinely nostalgic on Balmain's runway than it was at DSquared earlier. Funnily, Rousteing is too young at 27 to remember the strong shoulders and men's tailoring photographers Peter Lindbergh and Steven Meisel made famous on Linda Evangelista and her ilk. Maybe that was an asset as he attempted to reinterpreted the shapes in a modern way.
As the house of Balmain steps away from its trademark rock and roll, it seems to have fallen into the trap of remaining perhaps too singular? Like the Balmain of a few years ago, this collection won't be confused with any other designer. That's usually a good thing, but you don't want your aesthetic to become a parody of itself.
The black and white color palette was interspersed with dashes of yellow and a medium denim that was as dating as the over-emphasised shoulders. At best, this collection is mixed. It's great to see Balmain headed in a new direction, but Rousteing is still finding his footing.