Thursday 27th February

| BY Claudia Croft

Balmain: Ready-to-wear AW20


There’s nothing quite like a Balmain mass model moment, when 20 fierce women storm the runway in matching navy overcoats and huge rectangular shades. It’s the fiercest flash mob you will ever see. Olivier Rousteing is committed to stadium level glamour and so are his legions of fans. They come to his shows in their best Balmain, indulge in a selfie storm and then take their seats for their next fix. Rousteing does not disappoint. He knows his woman, he knows how to wow her. 1980s-inflected tailoring, thigh-high boots, gilded knits embellished to Romanov standards of lavish. The category is high fashion realness, the glamour volume is turned up to 11. But there are more subtle moments.

A trio of models wearing draped silk gowns in various shades of mocha proved that this designer doesn’t have to shout loud to make an impact. He even devoted a section to latex (Paris is embracing the rubber look) but used it inventively, creating high shine drapes and volume. Rousteing also expanded his Balmain army to include Helena Christensen and Esther Canadas. Both still as fabulous as they’d always been. Some things never get old.

Photographs by Jason Lloyd-Evans.