Balmain Spring Show Is Both Modern And Mature

Balmain does old school glamour for the new age.

The first one down the Balmain runway was the designer himself, Olivier Rousteing. He emerged from the smoky backdrop and perched himself upon a stool, ready to watch as six seasoned models came swaggering towards him. These were not the baby-faced youths most commonly seen sauntering down the aisle. These women were mature, grey hair complementing the re-worked monogrammed archival Balmain adorning their figures. All throughout their turn, a voice over the speakers, perhaps Pierre Balmain himself, spoke about age in fashion.

“Women want to look younger, and they know to look younger they must look a bit more carefree, they must look a little more casual.”

The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” kicked into full swing. Next out the gate was a small battalion of neon coated figures, all sharp shoulders and smoldering gazes. From there, the show was relentless. An endless stream of models poured out from the fog-filled background. They shimmered, they kicked their bellbottomed feet out, they occasionally tripped in their stiletto sock shoes.

At the end of it all, two young children in miniature suits emerged. They strutted their way over to the front rows, occupied by screens teleconferencing in the top voices in fashion. The children raised their tv remotes toward the screens, then exited stage right.

The runway, a simple gray slab covered in smoke and impossibly thin beauties, was both strikingly traditional and terrifyingly modern. The audience was half real, breathing people and half digitized. Viewers wore masks to watch unmasked models walk. The show asked questions of age while history was being written around it. In such precarious times, fashion is no longer tasked only with the creation of nice clothes, not that it was ever really that simple to begin with.

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