Saturday 18th January

| BY Paul Toner

Balmain: Menswear AW20

AW20 was a time of reflection for Olivier Rousteing. In the show notes, the designer spoke of the many questions he had growing up as an orphan in Bordeaux, one of France’s richest cities. Such questions revolved around race, heritage, belonging and the bourgeoisie – all themes Rousteing has continuously tackled throughout the past nine years he has spent at Balmain. This collection united the designer’s childhood fascination, riffing off “classic bourgeois signatures” to focus on a world where borders don’t exist; a land of vast opinions and endless beauty.

Soundtracked to Florence and the Machine’s Spectrum, the Balmain boys trecked against a sand dunes backdrop in only the finest of fabrics. Layers of cashmere came draped upon one another in earthy browns and rustic oranges. Each wore slightly sagged trousers that fell into creases at the pockets – paired with sand-hued dessert boots and chunky sandals. A dazzling chorus of eyewear with newfound collaborators, Akoni, shielded the Balmain army as they made their excursion, some clad in wrapped and warped tailoring, others in fantastic trompe-l’œil shirting.

Knockout moments came courtesy of the dazzling display of bedazzled argyle sweaters and the ivory and pearl silk that was used to create excellent blazers with hoodie-like kangaroo pouches. Rousteing ended the proceedings twirling and hugging the chorus of models and dancers that lapped around the set. This Balman army is strong and united on their journey to a brighter future and a better tomorrow.

Photographs by Jason Lloyd-Evans.