Saturday 19th January

| BY Richard Gray

Balmain: Menswear AW19

In 2011 Olivier Rousteing was named Creative Director of Balmain; he was just 25-years-old. Since then he has created a design signature, which he cleverly reinterprets every season for his women’s and menswear lines. Tonight, to a packed house, the 33-year-old released his latest men’s offering for AW19. Since his inception at the house, Balmain has become a byword for glamour, his current collection, in shops now, and based on the wardrobe of Michael Jackson, is made for your own red carpet do’s with sparkly bits. He speaks to a man who demands swag and Insta-appeal from his clothes; it’s a wardrobe for the gorgeous and glitzy life. Autumn then, and a line-out of tailored jackets and drop-crotch pants; a top-drawer tweed wool jacket with chain trim detail – the biker tweed version was something else. And on and on it came: dozens of looks, dozens of retail kerching! These are the pieces his customer will love. The Michael Jackson spirit continued, but lighter this time and incorporating riffs on ‘90s silhouettes: slouchy and slightly oversized coats and tops with a roomier pant moved the Balmain aesthetic on; now looser and made for ease. And those steampunk sunglasses will be shot and picked up by the style press. The biting comments on tees and bags refereed to the cruel world of online bullying; something Rousteing has been a victim of. This, he said, was a “pushing back”; his show notes called for a “liberating digital age of free, honest and respectful communication.” A positive message we can all get behind.

Photographs by Jason Lloyd- Evans.