If you close your eyes and imagine Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus (aka Venus in a Clamshell) with Venus rising up out of the shell wearing a giant shiny pearl as a skirt, that is pretty much the vision I had as the looks walked the Balmain Spring 2019 Couture runway.
Fitting that this would be the centerpiece of Olivier Rousteing’s latest collection for Balmain. Valuable, rare, oft-coveted by seekers of the finest. And not just pearl skirts, but oversized bracelets, mini bags, and an asymmetric neckline of mismatched sizes…because we want the allusion of mis-sized boobs. Ok, maybe that one was a one off.
The collection can only be described as otherworldly in its over-the-top, exaggerated sculptural perspective. Like Lady Gaga over-the-top, and all with an 80’s aesthetic of pastels, graffiti, and pleated fans that reminded me of pepto pink floor lamps my parents had in their great room with stark white oversized couches.
When the 80’s grandeur was pared down, the under-layers were divine, showing the craftwork of what makes Balmain a couture house. Up close, we saw dresses and bustiers encrusted with pearls, glass beading, silver foil, and metallic threading.
I admit I giggled at first sight of one of the looks, as the shiny quilted pieces reminded me of Tide Pods. I. just. can’t. I mean, the artistry is clearly there. But when a couture dress makes you think immediately of nothing other than a household cleaning agent that teenagers once challenged each other to stuff in their mouths…you just lost that “aaaaahhhh” moment.
Perhaps this wasn’t the best of Rousteing, but he’s still forward thinking, and incredibly creative. There are fabulous pieces here. Pared down, they are covet-worthy and will be swiped up quickly, I imagine.
Photos courtesy of Balmain