Saturday 2nd March

| BY Claudia Croft

Balmain: Ready-To-Wear AW19

Don’t let his puppyish energy and babyfaced good looks fool you. Olivier is one of the most seasoned creative directors in fashion. He’s headed Balmain for almost 9 years (which in the time of 3 year contracts and designer revolving doors is a major achievement). In that time he’s created the #balmainarmy, courted Rihanna and the Kardashians, become a beacon of catwalk diversity, reanimated the Haute Couture legacy of the house and created a jutting power-shoulder that’s instantly recognisable the world over. His is a jewel encrusted take on glamour. Wearing Balmain is the fashion equivalent of putting on a Fabergé egg. Having hooked every rich party girl from Melbourne to Malibu, Rousteing’s challenge is to push the aesthetic forward each season – whilst keeping the voltage high. He did that for AW19 by weaponising his aesthetic with metal studs and spikes. The opening looks – an oversized tweed skirt suit, biker jacket and quilted minidress – all came encrusted with heavy metal. Classic ladylike tweed jackets were slung with metal chains and cut-out shoulder biker jackets bristled with spikes. Even the sandals sprouted steel. The collection mashed up tough girl chic with Parisian, lady like looks. There was a slew of tweed numbers which nodded to classic Chanel with lashings of 21st Century attitude. A newly minted couturier his experiments with silhouette at the July show fed into the ready to wear with black patent fashioned into fan-fronted cocktail dresses, rippling rah rah skirts and pyramid peplums. “She’s got attitude, he said of his Balmain this season.

Photographs by Jason-Lloyd Evans.