PIERRE BALMAIN’S LEGACY
BALMAIN FALL 2023
“By celebrating where we come from, we can clearly see where we are headed.” Those fourteen words—which are the official definition of the Balmain DNA—also very neatly sum up Olivier Rousteing’s thoughts on the importance of always building upon a rich design history at Balmain. And no collection has ever made Rousteing’s dedication to that singular Balmain heritage more clear than his Fall 2023 runway presentation for the house.
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CONSTANTLY INSPIRED BY AN EXCEPTIONAL HERITAGE
“We know that even our most daring and modern designs are made stronger when they rest upon a firm foundation. Every collection—even the most modern and audacious collections that I have sent down a Balmain runway—has always, in some way, relied on inspirations to be found in this house’s incredible archives.”
THOSE “SLEEPING GIANT” DAYS ARE OVER
“Our men’s and women’s fall collections, so imbued with Balmain’s singular heritage, underline the fact that this house is definitely no longer sleeping on its rich past. ”
REINTRODUCING AN EYE-CATCHING CLASSIC
Although they may have been created several decades ago, all of Monsieur Balmain’s graphic ideas still remain fresh and compelling today. His Labyrinth, a hypnotic motif from the ‘70s, reflects his lifelong fascination with the intricate mazes found inside France’s most beautiful Renaissance gardens. In 1980, Balmain introduced the next generation of that mesmerizing pattern, slightly shifting his focus to the neighboring palaces. Inspired by the endless repetition of contrasting marble squares laid out inside the passages of Versailles and the Loire Valley châteaux, he created a truly regal pattern, which has now been revamped and reissued to cover several of Olivier Rousteing’s silhouettes for fall 2023.
For this collection, Rousteing and his team and have riffed on Pierre Balmain’s love of one of France’s most classic motifs: petits pois (polka dots). Season after season, the house founder cleverly and elegantly rendered riffs on the polka-dot pattern, using all possible sizes and configurations, and relying on a wide array of fabrics, techniques and adornments. And Rousteing is clearly ready to continue that tradition.
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PUT A BOW ON IT
Pierre Balmain’s celebrated inventiveness in playing with the size and the placement of elegant-yet-bold bows inspired some of the strongest offerings of Rousteing’s runway.
For the Balmain Fall ’23 collection, it’s clear to see that Olivier Rousteing has also definitely pushed the limits of one of the Pierre Balmain’s favorite luxury details—perfectly embroidered pearl ornaments.
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The signature elements of Pierre Balmain’s New French Style—the strict tailoring, cinched waists, strong shoulders, perfect pleating, elaborate volumes—can all be traced back to his early architectural training. The archive’s sketches of distinctly Balmain silhouettes, pulled from early collections, helped inspire many of Rousteing’s Fall 2023 runway’s strongest ensembles.
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“Heritage and legacy do not just mean that we are inspired by sketches, videos and creations from long ago… it also entails an incredibly high standard that we all feel compelled to do our best to live up to. Balmain, of course, began as an exclusive maison de haute couture—and creating one-of-a-kind pieces in a Parisian couture house has always been an exacting process, involving unmatched tailoring, incredible dressmaking skills, and painstaking finishing touches created by the most highly trained artisans.”
TOPPING OFF THE COLLECTION
Whether it was with pillboxes, turbans, berets, cloches, boaters or cartwheels—ever the architect, Monsieur Balmain loved to top off his perfect structural creations with the most elegant of couture’s crowning touches. For this runway, filled with fresh spins on the founder’s New French Style, Rousteing knew he could not neglect that essential final ingredient.
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