For his 2016 Pre-Fall collection, Balmain’s Creative Director Olivier Rousteing was inspired by the rich colors and extraordinary craftsmanship of 18th-Century Versailles, in particular the elegant and sensual style of Madame de Pompadour.
Her signature silhouette is echoed in this collection’s many riffs on the corset. In addition to the suede corsets layered over transparent lace designs, many of the collection’s shoes, skirts and jackets reference the corset’s eyelets, laces and hooks. Rousteing and his team relied on the skilled hands at Balmain’s ateliers for the mastery of the corset’s rigid shapes, with black dresses offering TAILLES de GUÊPE* and skirts playing on curved exaggerations inspired by crinolines.
Versailles’ opulence is reflected in the luxurious fabrics that Rousteing employs, including a variety of cashmeres, Jacquards, silks, and paisleys in a range of deep, regal tones. Several repeating motifs, including beaded fringes, hanging tassels, thick ruffles and bold gold accents, were inspired by elements spotted among the ornate decoration of the sprawling palace’s interiors. Accordingly, Balmain’s craftsmen have included an abundance of detailed embroideries, complicated leather weavings and masterful pleating throughout.
While inspirations may spring from centuries past, Rousteing stresses that this is a collection for the modern women of his generation: “You need to remember that Madame de Pompadour was a fighter. Although she was constantly attacked by the snide critics of her time as much for her origins as for her championship of new ideas in philosophy and art, she rose to become a legendarily powerful woman. Her spirit is the same one we see in the modern confident women who wear Balmain today.”
Creative Agency: KiDS Creativ
Creative Director: Pascal Dangin
Photographer: AJ Numan
Talent: Ysaunny Brito, Katrin Thormann and Cindy Bruna.
Hair: Stéphanie Farouze
Make-up: Mayumi Oda
Set Design: David White
All photos courtesy of Balmain.
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*TAILLES de GUÊPE (Wasp Waist) – Wasp Waist refers to a woman’s fashion silhouette, produced by a style of corset and girdle, that has experienced various periods of popularity in the 19th and 20th centuries. Its primary feature is the abrupt transition from a natural-width rib cage to an exceedingly small waist, with the hips curving out below. It takes its name from its similarity to a wasp’s segmented body. The sharply cinched waistline also exaggerates the hips and bust…read more
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