“I enjoy pushing envelopes, thinking a bit outside the box and saying exactly what I feel to anyone who cares to listen. At the same time, I’ve always believed that it’s important to have mastered the rules before you attempt to bend or break them. Today, my team and I focus on why this last stop on the Fashion Week circuit remains so distinct from the others. It’s not the runway’s styling, music and celebs that make Paris fashion so incredibly inspiring—I believe that it’s our incomparable heritage of couture and its high standards of tailoring, intricate sculpting and embellishment that distinguish us. Of course, those unique ingredients are key elements of this house’s DNA and today’s collection makes clear what a combination of savoir-faire and a Parisian atelier can make possible. And then, we moved to deconstruct all of that, bending the rules a bit. While continuing to respect the standards, techniques and skills that this house has long mastered, we’ve played with cuts and tailoring, creating new silhouettes and styles that reflect the way my generation wants to dress today. Just as we pay homage to the singular origins of Parisian fashion, we’ve also riffed on the origins of modern-day Paris—and, actually, modern civilization itself. My fascination with the impressive obelisks, pyramids and columns that date from Napoleon’s campaigns and adorn this city’s most iconic public spaces is reflected in our collection’s many references to Egypt. The feel of ancient papyrus and linens finds an echo in our denim and tweed offerings, while prints and treatments play with the distinctive looks of aged plaster and sharp hieroglyphs. And, just like I. M. Pei, we’ve turned to modern materials, including glass and metal, to update the Egyptians’ impressive geometry.
This collection is accompanied by one additional break with conventions. We have teamed up with Oculus to invite as many members of our Balmain Army as possible to experience the show through virtual reality. For too many years, the legendary runways of Paris fashion week have been only open to a very lucky select few. This partnership embodies my often-repeated desire to democratize and modernize fashion. Using an Oculus headset, they’ll be able to enjoy a 360-degree view of the runway, helping them to experience the excitement of a Balmain show and understand a bit more the unique heritage and possibilities of this house.” Olivier Rousteing