There’s no denying the impact that France’s freshly-elected President Emmanuel Macron has had on designers’ collections – and moods – with a surge in pride and great expectations for the man who many see as the savior of France – and the European Union. “I am so proud to be French. Welcome to Paris,” said Olivier Rousteing, who was buzzing about Macron backstage before his glittering show that was a mix of Americana and Francophilia.
Pointing to his baroque swirls, and to the fringed and studded leather jackets, Balmain talked about his love for America and his hope the country finds its own Macron. National pride and politics aside, Rousteing said the collection was also about what he wants to wear, every day, rather than clothing for some ideal Balmain man.
To wit, he took his runway bow wearing a deep-V Breton wrap sweater, and worked so many of those French fashion staples into his typically jazzy lineup. Jackets ranged from boxy boucle numbers edged with chunky chains to black leather ones with shiny studs, crystals or other sparkles, to cowboy styles with long swooshing fringes.
White swirls, inspired by the baroque interiors of France’s great palaces, wound their way over long cardigans, leather jackets and women’s tutu dresses and minis, while Breton stripes slid across jackets and long knit tunic tops with deep V-necks. Other sweaters displayed a version of the American flag, in black and white, while Serge Gainsbourg’s Sixties classic “Bonnie and Clyde,” blared from the speakers.
There was much humor – and a lot to love — in this collection that radiated the palpable energy of a country that’s in a good mood once again.