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by on July 1, 2018
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“It’s an homage to the house for people who love the timeless feel of Balmain gowns,” said Olivier Rousteing surrounded by the latest creations that bear the 44 François Premier designation. With the Fall ’18 haute couture schedule getting underway today, the designer has once again proposed a capsule of exceptional eveningwear that is as haute as it is hot.

Opting against the high-profile pageantry that is inherent to any Balmain runway experience, Rousteing gave a first look at the collection as a one-on-one walkthrough within the maison’s elegant showroom (44 François Premier refers to the original address, which the company has outgrown but still maintains). Even on lifeless mannequins, the gowns radiated glamour, their vivid colors going strong on the va-va-voom. Reinterpreting characteristics that ooze with ‘70s and ‘80s allure—one-shoulder draped styles, moulded shoulders, asymmetric lengths that delineate the body, and surfaces slick with micro strass—he has deliberately played into a certain Parisian ideal that was established by Pierre Balmain and continued through to Oscar de la Renta. “Right now, I’m really, really into bringing back the tradition of the house more than ever,” he said. “Since everyone is wondering about the future of fashion, I think it’s good to step back and remember where we come from without appearing conservative—what made all the strong Paris houses shine around the world.”

As Rousteing tells it, the collection’s raison d’être is to stand the test of time. “Now that I have 14 collections a year, I can play with all those collections. Couture is not looking to be modern, to be a trend,” he said. Indeed, when it was suggested that the fluid draping was not unlike classical Greek sculpture, the designer lit up and described how he arrived at the source material. “I was inspired by spending time with Beyoncé at the Louvre shooting the video,” he explained (consider her and Jay-Z’s Apes**t obligatory viewing if you haven’t already). “It was interesting for me to see all the statues and this became the point I wanted to focus on in the atelier—all those Venuses you see with the drape. But still, it couldn’t be over-exaggerated because I want these dresses to be worn on the red carpet.”

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