Balmain has one of the most identifiable and consistent aesthetics in fashion today. It goes beyond the recognition of signature design elements, like the Chanel quilting or the Herve Leger bandage silhouette, to be more of an overall amalgam of silhouette, fabric selection and detail. The Fall 2013 collection shown in Paris is one of the biggest departures from that signature look we've seen from the house. As a whole, the collection is equally cohesive, you wouldn't mistake a look for that from another collection. But taken together it has a very different feel than the Balmain we've gone gaga for. Was it as enchanting? It's a difficult verdict to make.
If the 2010 collection evoked the 70s disco scene, the emphasis on big shoulders and obi-wrapped waist for 2013 was all 80s, a decade Balmain is always very comfortable referencing. The look brings to mind what would have been considered futuristic in that time period. Lamé bodysuits and harem pants are a bit hard to take seriously. If a material could be metalicized, it was. I loved it in the opening look — a silver dress comprised of a super-structured military-inspired bodice and layered skirts, a tulip skirt blooming over a mini. It is a silhouette Balmain came back to again and again, a perfect party look. It was less successful in head-to-toe jumpsuits layered with heavy-looking mantels.
Everything was impeccably executed, I just hope the more unwearable looks don't alienate the broad clientele Balmain has cultivated over the past few years.