Olivier Rousteing found a recent trip to Los Angeles endlessly inspiring. Not necessarily the landscape or the architecture, both of which are gorgeous enough, but the people and what he described as their generosity and playfulness. In L.A., he said, "they embrace fashion, not like in Paris, where they're in fashion, so they run away from it." Rousteing used the experience as a jumping-off point for his Resort collection, which blended the globalism of his Fall show for Balmain with a seventies vibe.
The season's key item was the poncho, the outerwear of choice for all things wild and free. Rousteing's came lavishly beaded in Native American motifs, or more low-key in sweatshirt fleece. If embracing different cultures and mixing ethnicities are important messages for the designer, diversifying the price point is essential for the company. That's one reason you'll find a big emphasis here on knits. Especially fab were a pair of graphic
black-and-white chevron-stripe high-waisted flares worn with a snug sleeveless shell. Stretchy knit lace separates were as body-con as anything Rousteing has done, but more covered up.
Discretion will never be the Balmain way, but hemlines are getting longer, and Rousteing seems genuinely jazzed about the prospect of his gals wearing their leather slipdresses over leather pants. It remains to be seen if they'll go along for the ride, but it was satisfying to see the designer confidently stretching the boundaries of the brand.