Pierre Balmain founded Balmain in 1946 and had the title of 'King of French fashion'. The concept of haute couture took off after the war as ateliers began to use unconventional materials to make pieces tailored for individuals' needs. Couture originated in Paris, so it makes sense for people to return to this capital seasonally for haute couture weeks. This collaboration follows the Alexander Wang x h&m collection last year, and these collaborations are growing (more on this later) in terms of their recognition and demand. Keep in mind that this h&m collaboration is claimed as one of the most expensive, with many jackets sold at £300. I've also read reviews which disagreed on the models looking 'too stiff' and clothing 'too costume-ish'. It is Balmain. And it's a completely different turn from Wang. Balmain price points are also much higher - leather jackets for men can start from £2,400+. So take all these things into comparison.
Extravagant is probably the first word that comes to mind. Gold is, after all, the core of Balmain. So the gold shines through the buttons, gold press releases and even gold plates for our press breakfast. Take a start from the engraved buttons, in both silver and gold tones, which are essential to the Balmain DNA. Hand-embroidery is effort and time - hence making it valuable and more acceptable to pay the high price Balmain demands. See also the leather jackets that are decorated with hand-embroidered patches which appear both on the chest and on the cuffs. The animals sewed on were eagles and lions - both symbols which can combine to represent the legendary Griffin. An icon that was thought to be majestic and powerful.
There's the other side of Balmain - no less majestic but more gentle. And this person loves tailoring. The white cropped jacket with satin black lapels was the jacket Olivier Rousteing, creative director for Balmain, wore to the Billboard Awards along with Kendall Jenner and Jourdan Dunn to announce the collection. Other jackets include velvet blazers and double-breasted coats.
The final side of Balmain for men is quite sportswear influenced. That's the reason why you'd find biker jeans (jeans with ribbed biker detailing on the knees) and knitted jogging bottoms. These are different from the usual 'lounge pants' as the Balmain style have it more dropped crotch, enhanced with vertical stripes to convey a stronger attitude. As on the mannequins, there are you can find a navy blue pair worn with a red leather jacket. Outerwear is another wardrobe staple for Balmain with its panelling on the shoulders and motocross quilting. Accessories lovers will have a wide range to choose from the silver-toned tip black boots to the army boots. There are also black backpacks and gold-tone sunglasses.
For women, it's much more shinier; as pictured, the bodycon dresses range from deep-V neck with all-over green sequins to pink-rhinestone encrusted ankle dresses. What comes through is this powerful French femininity. Although rhinestones will not be rhinestones, the stitching is so well done that the overall look is extremely strong. The accessories are equally strong: waist-clenching wide belts, thigh-high boots and statement drop earrings. A limited edition eau de perfume, combining white jasmine petals and woody, cedar Texas notes, will be released in selected stores from 3rd December 2015.
Join the Balmain Army which will be available in selected stores worldwide, and on hm.com, from Thursday 5th November. If you can't contain your excitement, have a look at the event in New York and the behind-the-scenes campaign video.
To be continued... #tbc