Hot Dystopia. Balmain SS23

I might not be a Balmain kind of person, but I can definitely appreciate it, when Olivier Rousteing does something intriguing with it. A lot happened on the spring-summer 2023 runway, from a haute couture capsule offering to Cher closing the event. Over-saturated with prints featuring (very naked) Renaissance painting and a heavy dose of leather weaving and jersey draping, it was clear that Rousteing was still high on his Jean Paul Gaultier collaboration we’ve seen this summer (by the way, I can’t wait to see what Haider Ackermann will cook up for the brand in a couple of months!). But what truly sparked my attention in this Balmain outing was the melancholic, even dystopian mood behind it – and also it’s sustainability aspect. “We all saw climate change this summer. We all saw fires around the world. And coming back with a show in September, thinking about whether our pants are going to be high-waisted or low-waisted – it seems a bit futile to me.” Dressed like a samurai messiah, Rousteing told the press backstage that while he could not claim this collection was 100 per cent sustainable, he’d used fabrics made of paper, of banana, and of wicker (in the couture) to be as much so as possible. He added: “I have friends who tell me they don’t want to have kids, because what will our world be tomorrow? And at the end of the day it’s not about taste. It’s not about aesthetics.” When faced with the hardest proposition – that all fashion is essentially unsustainable for its inherent ephemerality – he convincingly riposted that his ongoing project is to radicalize his supply chain for the better. So props to him.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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