Since taking over the creative direction of Balmain nearly nine years ago, Olivier Rousteing has proven that the world is his oyster. To cover what he has achieved—the global brand growth, design identity, inclusive messaging, and far-reaching popularity—would run the length of this review. Thus, the revival of the maison’s haute couture atelier must have been his pearl; a rare and valuable manifestation of beauty, its iridescent nacre akin to layers of workmanship.
And so it’s not for nothing that pearls played a central part in his first couture collection. Right from the start, they appeared as giant Balmain-emblazoned orbs encircling wrists and carried in hand; they were the obvious reference for bulbous skirts molded in leather; and they were applied in bounteous quantities to lattices of ornamentation, from suits to jeans. They were the only reasonable explanation for the models’ filmy white makeup.
By Melonie Wang