ATELIERS AND ARTISANS
When Balmain Sur Seine cruised through the heart of the French capital on a péniche packed with models wearing classic designs from both Pierre Balmain and Olivier Rousteing, the house’s legendary timelessness was on display for all of Paris to see. Signature silhouettes from more than half a century ago still looked as fresh, striking and modern as they must have first appeared during Monsieur Balmain’s mid-century couture presentations.
Whenever my team and I go through our house’s rich archives, it’s inevitable:
someone is going to be blown away by how Pierre Balmain’s classic silhouettes still remain as fresh today as they must have first appeared decades ago. Just one glance at a clipping, dress or sketch—and it’s easy to see how our house founder’s designs could be quickly adapted to today’s lifestyle. That timelessness is, of course, a key reason why the 75-year-old house of Balmain continues to build a remarkable 21st- Century history.
TIMELESSNESS, NOT TIME TRAVEL
“Pierre Balmain repeatedly stressed that fashion needs to constantly evolve, noting that unless a designer wishes to create period costumes for the theater, it’s imperative that every collection reflects the distinctive tastes of each new generation. So, while our Fall 2023 runway does celebrate our founder’s legendary New French Style, we continue to be just as inspired by his modern philosophy—his uniquely audacious, forward-looking and always optimistic outlook.”
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Le style que l'on ressuscite doit être adapté au présent (The style that is being
resurrected must be adapted to the present)
TIMELESSNESS AND SUSTAINABILITY
Today, as fast fashion fills our landfills, there is definitely something to be said for timeless designs, created to last a lifetime. Perhaps the most sustainable items are trend-free offerings, which are more likely to be passed down to the next generation than to be quickly discarded.
ALWAYS-FRESH GRAPHIC PATTERNS
Inspired by the intriguing pathways weaving through the mazes of France's most beautiful Renaissance gardens, the house’s timeless Labyrinth motif was first introduced by Monsieur Balmain in the early ‘70s. Olivier Rousteing revamped and reintroduced the distinctive pattern in 2020, making clear once again the rich inspiration the house’s extensive archives holds for Rousteing and his design teams.
AN ENDURING, REGAL PATTERN
In the early ‘80s, Pierre Balmain introduced the next generation of his repeating Labyrinth motif, slightly shifting his focus to those palaces set alongside the Renaissance garden mazes. Inspired by the dazzling checked patterns formed by contrasting marble squares laid out inside the hallways of Versailles and the Loire Valley châteaux, he created a truly regal pattern, which now covers several of the house’s latest men’s and women’s silhouettes—as well as some very one-of-a-kind accessories.
ON THE RUNWAY
Pierre Balmain’s timeless graphic patterns played a big part in the house’s Pre-Fall and Fall 2023 collections for men and women.
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SILK SCARVE DRESSING
Pierre Balmain’s chic and enduring 1970s silk-scarf silhouettes were the inspiration for Olivier Rousteing’s Pre-Fall 2023 designs for the house. Many of those silk offerings were covered with variations on the house’s timeless graphic patterns.
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THE ROUSTEING DECADE
To celebrate Olivier Rousteing’s ten years of creations at Balmain, his Spring 2022 runway closed with a re-edition of a handful of his most iconic looks—making very clear that Rousteing is extending the house’s long history of creating enduring designs that continually appear fresh.
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SPRING 2022 TEN-YEAR RETROSPECTIVE
"When I was designing some of the earliest of these silhouettes, as an occasionally overwhelmed twenty-something, I definitely would have laughed if someone would have told me that someday I’d be showing them as part of my retrospective—but at this moment, I can see that they are milestones of the journey that brought me to where we are now."