Balmain, AW12, Paris.
To create an opulent collection in his second season at the head of Balmain, Olivier Rousteing drew on an array of techniques to create multi layered fabrics with an intense level of detailing. Leather was used as embossed and laser cut panels layered over velvet, or quilted with lines of stitching. Velvet was used as an under cloth, or heavily embossed for fitted trousers. Velvet was also used with a burnt out devoré effect, revealing sheer lines of fabric in the base cloth beneath the velvet pile.
There was also an incredible level of beading that was used in an impressive way to reinforce boxy silhouettes, or in elaborate panels to flatter the curves of the body. Rather than appearing as though the embellishments were a heavily applied decoration, they were cleverly engineered as part of the garments.
Also of note were the tapestry panels that proved a vibrant flash of colour in amongst the pearly pastel pinks and pistachios, and rich teal leather.
All in all the techniques chosen worked as complements of each other, creating 2D and 3D versions to reinforce similar linework details and to echo historical references. It was with interesting effect that Rousteing used one of the most simple and everyday pieces of the collection to ground the otherwise very regal techniques. The very opulent and detailed designs were nicely offset by the simple shape of a fully fashioned knit sweater.
Images from Vogue.co.uk»