Paris Fashion Week

Fame and celebrity

Friends bring benefits in stellar supermodel line-up as Balmain channels Kardashian curves at Paris Fashion Week

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 March, 2016, 2:16pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 April, 2016, 12:58pm

The benefit of being besties with the supermodel set meant Balmain’s young Olivier Rousteing had all the biggest girls on his Paris Fashion Week runway.

The line-up was a veritable who’s who of modern modelling: Gigi Hadid, Rosie Huntington Whiteley, Joan Smalls, Kendall Jenner, Jourdan Dunn, Lindsey Wixson, Ming Xi and Karlie Kloss. What was this ... Taylor Swift’s girl squad reunion?

And in the front row there was plenty of hoopla over Kris Jenner in a floor-length mink coat, seated next to her daughter’s husband, an uncharacteristically reserved Kanye West. Kim Kardashian wasn’t here this time, but the brand makes no secret of Rousteing’s close connection to America’s most famous family.

With most fashion runways criticised for lacking ethnic diversity, this French label is leading the charge in using models of all colours in its biggest shows, campaigns and collaborations – and this one was no exception. For that alone, Rousteing should be applauded.

But on to the clothes. While the designer’s often Liberace levels of baroque embellishment are not everyone’s cup of tea, this season took on a softer, gentler palette with plenty of pale pinks, baby blues and pretty peaches. Light, feminine frills down the lengths of dresses and trousers made for lovely movement, while oversized tassels amped up the drama.

But for fans of Balmain’s unapologetic maximalism and opulence, there was still plenty to see – contrasting black and whites, serious corseting, sexy halternecks and gold embellishments worthy of Fabergé eggs.

Waists were cinched with huge gold metallic belts, and hips exaggerated to volumes that recalled 18th century costumes, or more likely the famously curvaceous shape of the missing Balmain muse, Kim Kardashian. It quickly became apparent, even from the hair and styling, that art is imitating life – or it the other way around – and the US reality star is very much directly inspiring French high fashion houses.

For the card-carrying high fashion snobs, this might be far, far too much.