It’s hard to imagine where the modern French fashion industry would be without American hip-hop. So beholden in fact that Paris stalwart Givenchy has just announced that it will show its Spring/Summer 2016 women’s collection during New York Fashion Week in September.
Whilst Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing eschews the straight-up streetwear homages oft seen at Givenchy, it’s not too much of stretch to see a comparison between the gold chains of hip-hop, code for procurers and drug pushers, and the heavy gold bullion embroidery that Rousteing covers his designs in. That pimp mother and architect of the excruciating media circus currently tormenting Paris, Kris Jenner, showed up on the front row in a jacket plastered with the stuff merely reinforces the connection.
For a brand whose menswear sales account for 40% of its turnover it seems strange that this collection is the first one to be shown on a catwalk, admittedly alongside Balmain’s resort collection for women, but this only goes to showcase the coherent aesthetic Rousteing has established between both sides of the business.
Everything is so recognisably Balmain, with its surfeit of surface decoration and maximalist complexity, albeit by way of H. Rider Haggard’s safari wardrobe. This time in burnt-out bronzes, military khaki and beige. A Union flag motif and the boot/gladiator sandal hybrids the only jarring moments. Men’s toenails should never be encouraged, in any context.
Review written by Lee Clatworthy (@bombfashion) for www.katiechutzpah.com
Images used by kind permission of www.style.com