Balmain’s Fall 2019 RTW Spikes Through Paris Fashion Week

Balmain’s Fall 2019 RTW Spikes Through Paris Fashion Week

The only label women will be carrying in these clothes is Balmain.

The only label women will be carrying in these clothes is Balmain.

Photography: Schohaja

Text: Julian Wright

Fashion and life are performative. We talk about ourselves as if we morph through different versions of our persona depending on circumstance, time and the environment around us. In reality, the multitude of personalities and styles we wear are not just interchangeable hats that we swap when convenient; they are individual facets that intermittently share the spotlight of display but ultimately culminate in “you.” A painter’s palette has many colors but they fuse together on canvas to create an integrated image, one where individual colors are indistinguishable and the result is a visual subject that shines. Balmain chose the subject of the modern woman for its Fall 2019 RTW line’s chosen subject, women who “demand control and… revel in pushing forward.” “Female troublemakers,” as lead designer Olivier Rousteing puts it. Much like any visual virtuoso, Rousteing understood the many “colors” of women in his generation and created a line that allowed them to play with the pieces of their selfhood to create their own masterpieces of identity.

This collection embodies the many dichotomies of womanhood: good or bad, tender or tough and modest or provocative. Roustieng described it as “sweet poison,” a physical manifestation of the contrasting elements of being a woman. And this contrast was certainly centerstage. One model appears in an all-black ensemble: shoulder length gloves joining into a vinyl feathered bosom, a stiffly upright, voluminous vinyl tutu, separated by a naked midriff layered in a panel of clear PVC. Another piece covered a model from head to toe, shrouded in a floor length cape, spikes on every inch, including her trousers and heels, but excluding the area between her décolletage and navel, where only a sheer dotted fabric lay between her exposed breasts and the viewer. Sexy, strong, delicate, modest, but never gentle. These women are dressed to fight; Roustieg described it as equipping women to encounter their daily battles. The use of denim and studs, two of the most noticeable themes of Balmain’s show, prove this intention of combative preparation. Durability and ferocity leap from the garments, with classic light wash denim and thousands of metallic spikes proliferating throughout the line.

Balmain unveiled a collection that reflects the feminine zeitgeist. Women are no longer uniformly defined and should not be viewed or treated as such. In an act of defiance, Balmain has empowered women with the ability to denounce their imposed labels and embrace their fluid and dynamic performances of selfhood through clothes.

Credits: Photos Courtesy of Schohaja

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