Balmain Is Still Stuck in the ’80s for Spring 2019

Balmain's Spring 2019 collection. Photo: Imaxtree

Balmain’s Spring 2019 collection. Photo: Imaxtree

Balmain‘s last several seasons have been — considering the usual excess around which Olivier Rousteing has built his tenure at the French house — quite understated. Where Spring 2018 was a “wearable” (whatever that means these days) exercise in refinement, Fall 2018 was brighter (with iridescence and neons galore), but in that, somewhat restrained, with much to be desired. Balmain is still, of course, a brand with a richly ’80s-centric history, and the larger-than-life reference points of that era — exaggerated shoulders, roomy trousers, shiny embellishments, knife-edged blazers — can make even the most simplistic of collections appear flamboyant.

For Rousteing’s Spring 2019 Balmain offering, there was no such air of delicacy as in the aforementioned collections. This time, the bigger, the louder, the brighter, the zoomier, the chunkier, the better — from the casting to the silhouettes that may have been plucked straight from the flashiest MTV video block (or from Balmain’s own late-aughts heyday, with broad shouldered blazers calling back to Christophe Decarnin’s once ubiquitous street style-beloved jackets). 

The presentation opened with Cara Delevingne — actress-no-longer-model Cara Delevingne! — walking and simultaneously lip-syncing to Prince’s “When Doves Cry.” (She also closed the show and cozied up right next to Rousteing at the end of the runway for a full-cast Kodak moment.) The music — pulled from the prime “Flashdance” years of 1980-1993 — set the tone: Prince segued into Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust,” followed, for starters, by Chaka Khan’s “Ain’t Nobody,” INXS’s “Original Sin” and rounding out with Duran Duran’s “Come Undone.” 

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