Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing Goes For All Out Barefoot Glamour For SS ’21

by Freya Drohan

Community, optimism, and heritage: such was the trifecta of values on Olivier Rousteing’s mind as he endeavored to create his Spring Summer ’21 collection. The Balmain creative director dug deep into his own memory bank—and nodded to Pierre Balmain’s own drive to succeed post World War II—in order to present an offering that was steadfast, determined, and full of hope.

How did Rousteing portray this? A high octane take on working from home style, inspired by six mid-century designs from the Balmain archives. If one thing is for certain, it’s that Rousteing delights in a live presentation, and to truly bring these designs back to life, he enlisted the models who originally wore them during salons over the past few decades.

Again nodding to the house’s heritage, the PB logo was revamped and reconsidered. Looks reflected the hits of recent years too: fluorescent highlighter tones, sharp blazers, strong pagoda shoulders, and flared social media-friendly sparkly trousers which were just calling out to be viewed through the Kira Kira app. (Balmain’s artisans painstakingly embroidered some two million Swarovski crystals to various pieces throughout this bling-heavy collection!) The slinky, sexy dresses that made up the finale were business as usual, but worn by barefoot models, which we guess is one way to reflect our new at-home lifestyle shift.

Fashions aside, innovative partnerships—such as a venture with Apple Music, which saw an eclectic soundtrack of everything from ’80s pop to Frank Sinatra—led to what seems like the most fun show of Paris Fashion Week thus far. As for the front row? We spied Jenners! Kardashians! Anna Wintour! Cara Delevingne! Cindy Crawford! Albeit, tuning in from home and beaming in to the show space thanks to LG OLED TVs. It was cool, but is this the future of fashion show FROWs? Gulp. We hope not.

“Tonight’s final message is one of undeterred confidence in better days ahead. This house, as I often repeat, has optimism and audacity built into its DNA,” Rousteing said.

Thank goodness for the polarized eyewear worn by many models: the future of fashion shows looks bright again.

See selected looks from the collection below:

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