Held in the opulent Palais Garnier, the opera house in the heart of Paris, this afternoon's SS18 Balmain show was a celebration of dreams becoming reality, as creative director Olivier Rousteing reminisced on his childhood ambitions. In the show notes – or rather, "a note to me, twenty-two years ago" – Rousteing explained to his younger self: "This sense of awe that you’re feeling, as you walk into Garnier’s dazzling opera house, won’t be just a one-time thing. Of course, the intensity will diminish over the years, but I can tell you – twenty-two years after this moment – that this same émerveillement will hit you each and every time you return. Yes, right now you might just be a ten-year-old kid from the provinces, wrapping up your first visit to the capital with a night at the opera but this is destined to become a guiding memory for you, crystallising into another symbol of the future that you dream about – just like those music posters plastered across your bedroom walls and all those fashion editorials that you keep tearing out of magazines."
Earlier this year, in May, some two decades after his first visit, Rousteing's designs were worn by Les Etoiles de l’Opéra during a ballet premiere at the world-famous opera house and today his creations were again on display in the decadent setting, the perfect backdrop to his equally sumptuous and ostentatious designs. Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill" began as Natalia Vodianova strode out into the gilded room, wearing a patent jumpsuit over a white cut-out blouse. And many more supermodels, admired by a young Rousteing in his teenage years, followed, including Bianca Balti, Natasha Poly, Alessandra Ambrosio and Karolina Kurkova, though newbies and close friends Kendall Jenner as well as Gigi and Bella Hadid were notably absent.
Rousteing's Balmain Army was dressed mostly in a monochrome palette, embellished and adorned with fringing, sequins, couture embroidery, ribbed leather, gold chains and beading. As the soundtrack continued with a host of female singers including Banks, Tatu and Florence and the Machine, the collection featured the typical silhouettes we expect from Rousteing's Balmain; body-con shapes, exaggerated shoulders, cinched waists, flesh-baring cut-outs and serious ruffles. There were sequin T-shirts and trousers for Rousteing's still OTT take on casualwear, while a series of patriotic red and blue dresses added a flash of colour to the huge collection.
Whether or not you've fallen for Rousteing's A-list-adored, maximalist vision for the historic French fashion house and been swept up in Balmania, his SS18 collection was a pleasant reminder to believe in yourself and follow your heart's desires. As he summarised in the show notes to his younger self: "And from where I am now, I know one thing: dreams like yours sometimes actually do come true."