Balmain draws on the bejeweled Far East via the 1980s in highly embellished show

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Balmain draws on the bejeweled Far East via the 1980s in highly embellished show

PARIS - Balmain focused on the Far East for its fall-winter collection Thursday, using bejeweled couture and Oriental wrapped silks to embellish the Paris house's ready-to-wear display.

Waists were cinched to within an inch of life with gold and black belts, and glistening regal amulets. High-waisted harem pants in geometric pattern silk lame defined the esthetic.

The 27-year-old designer Olivier Rousteing has indeed come a long way in stamping the house with his youthful exuberance.

And it's no small feat: It's only his fourth season at the house, which was founded on the eve of World War II.

"Upbeat, modern and real" were the words he used to described the collection.

With the spiky, in-trend '80s shoulders, "upbeat" and "modern" it definitely felt. But "real" — given the collection's ample Lurex stripes, chandelier crystals, and metallic leather tweed — was quite far off the mark.

These were not looks to be worn on the street.

Balmain's clothes are some of the most finessed on the Paris calendar, in fine display here.

Occasionally the sheer richness of the embellishments, layers and fabrics fought for attention and slightly cluttered the silhouette.

Overall the collection was strong, though, with Rousteing definitely on to something with the simpler looks such as a great, jade green, V-shape jersey twinned with slick high- pleated sultan pants.


Thomas Adamson can be followed at

Organizations: Paris house,

Geographic location: Far East, PARIS

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