THE MEN’S PRESENTATION
BALMAIN FALL 2023
The Balmain Men Fall 2023 presentation looked back to Balmain’s earliest men’s collections for inspiration. Those early ‘60s offerings were marked by a sleek and sophisticated style, relying on the atelier’s exceptional tailoring skills for slim-fit, sharply cut suits that channeled the cool sophistication of Saint Germain jazz artists.
IMBUED WITH A SINGULAR HERITAGE
Balmain’s distinctive mid-century silhouette for men was, of course, a massive departure from the conventional suiting ideas of the time. In addition, Monsieur Balmain seems to have had absolutely no fear in deftly incorporating some of best ideas of his women’s designs directly into his men’s offerings. Building upon that bold example, Olivier Rousteing underlined the relationships between the silhouettes, colors, patterns and spirit of his women’s runway and the men’s presentation.
“Le style que l'on ressuscite doit être adapté au présent” (Pierre Balmain)
“That’s one of Pierre Balmain’s guiding principles and it translates, roughly to “a resurrected style must be adapted to the present day.” It’s an often-repeated dictum at Balmain. It reflects our founder’s strong conviction that fashion needs to constantly evolve—for, as he noted, unless a designer’s aim is to create period costumes for the theatre, collections must always reflect the modern needs and the distinctive tastes of each new generation.”
FRESH FROM THE ARCHIVES
Monsieur Balmain’s graphics remain just as fresh and compelling today as they must have been when he first began sketching them decades ago. A few seasons ago, Balmain reintroduced the Labyrinth, a hypnotic motif from the ‘70s that reflects Pierre Balmain’s lifelong fascination with the intricate mazes set inside France’s most beautiful Renaissance gardens. In 1980, Monsieur Balmain introduced the next generation of that pattern, slightly shifting his focus to the palaces set alongside those labyrinths. Inspired by the endless repetition of contrasting marble squares laid out inside the passages of Versailles and Loire Valley châteaux, he created a truly regal pattern, now updated to cover several of the men’s collection silhouettes.
"If a seam is not quite right, that is a matter of life and death." (Ginette Spanier)
Ginette Spanier, the Balmain Directrice from 1947 to 1976, assured that the house kept true to Paris couture’s singular dedication to artisanal savoir-faire. Olivier Rousteing notes that the same devotion to impeccable craft remains very much alive today inside the Balmain Atelier. That allows him to explore his passion for the type of flawless Parisian tailoring and construction that helps to set apart the house’s Fall 2023 collections.
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AN INTIMATE PRESENTATION
Set inside the cozy bar and reception areas of one of Paris’ most celebrated Belle Epoque luxury hotels, the Balmain Men’s Fall 2023 presentation was designed to be an small and intimate affair—thereby allowing all of the house’s guests the opportunity to closely inspect and admire the details of the skilled tailoring and embellishment work of the Balmain artisans.
I remember the moment as though it were yesterday: it’s fourteen years ago, and I am completely blown away as I’m introduced to our archive’s vast collection of sketches, press clippings, videos and creations for the very first time. I finally understand what I had been repeatedly told while interviewing for my first position at Balmain: that this house was a “sleeping giant,” resting upon a treasure trove of long-forgotten riches. Today, as we celebrate and build upon that richness, it’s clear that we are no longer a Sleeping Giant