Loud luxury

Balmain returned to Paris with a celebration of community and colour
Fashion | 22 January 2024
Photographer Cassia Agyeman

Balmain is back, having returned to the Paris menswear calendar with a runway show bursting with colour, celebration and collaboration. The show was, according to Oliver Rousteing, “Inspired by that positive example of blending together the very best of many cultures… we’ve paired our atelier’s expertise in tailoring and craft with a host of influences from all across the world.”

“This collection’s luxury is anything but quiet” – the designer’s words were proud and defiant. In an era of quiet luxury, Rousteing is sticking to his guns and keeping the maximalist dial spinning. The designer’s moodboard was bursting with colour, drawing influence from the streets of Kinshasa, Paris and Harlem, from legendary ragtime performer Tony Jackson, surrealism and Congo’s vibrant sartorial elite, the Sapeurs. The Sapeur’s ten commandments were listed in the show notes, including ‘Thou shalt honor the Sapeur’s style in every place.’ And honoured they were, in sharp tailoring cast in the brightest of hues, decorated with polka dots, kisses (a recurring motif created by each member of the Balmain team puckering up) and portraits created by Ghana artist Prince Gyasi; his portraits transformed through textile silhouettes, embellishment, patterns and 3D imaging.

Then came flashes of gold: piles of necklaces banging on one model’s chest as they walked; a gilded durag on another; and a belt of hands holding a golden bouquet across Naomi Campbell’s waist, who closed the show before emerging hand in hand with Rousteing as the designer took his bow. This was a celebration of global creative excellence and diversity, sending a message across the industry.

GALLERYBackstage images from Balmain MENS-FALL-WINTER-24

GALLERYCatwalk images from Balmain MENS-FALL-WINTER-24