House Design

Olivier Rousteing Plays With Shoulders and Opulence at Balmain

The house’s sculptural legacy gets a restrained, old-money spin for Fall 2023.

In line with the theme of functionality and workwear seen on multiple runways this season, Balmain’s Fall 2023 collection is all about a good power suit and interesting proportion play with an emphasis on the shoulders — the Olivier Rousteing way.

Presented on Wednesday in Paris, the collection also continues Balmain’s legacy of couture techniques. Rousteing seemed to want to allow the pieces themselves to take center stage, showing the collection in a simple, black-and-white runway space — a far cry from the conspicuousness of Balmain Festival.

Sculptural pieces with angular silhouettes and constructed from lavish fabrics dominate the collection. Most looks reflect the venue’s colorless palette, with a few bold exceptions, like an iridescent green gown featuring pagoda shoulders and a fluffy tinsel purple coat with exaggerated lapels. While many looks were designed to add volume to the shoulders, others were cut to reveal them seductively. Still others feature fabric wrapped intriguingly around them. Pearls, crystals and furry accents added texture and sumptuousness to many pieces, yielding a luxurious and groovy collection reminiscent of old-school glamor and even a touch of ’80s glam rock, albeit a very refined interpretation.

Compared to the brand’s attention-grabbing spectacles of past seasons, Fall 2023 is considerably more subdued, offering the Balmain customer luxurious yet timeless pieces with an impeccable attention to detail. This is more restricted, perhaps the old-money way of dressing aligns with the emergence of this season’s “stealth wealth” trend, clothing that doesn’t advertise its value in ostentatious ways. That said, Balmain wouldn’t be without a little indulgence.

See every look from the collection below.

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