Christophe Decarnin likes to say Balmain
Homme isn't a collection; it's a wardrobe. That's a useful way to think about its offering, which reprises successes season after season, as well as adding some new tricks to the bag along the way. Like its sister label, Balmain Homme is fabulously—even a bit shockingly—expensive. But unlike Decarnin's women's collection, the menswear is more restrained. The military jackets that were such a sensation for the ladies have their analogues here in silver-buttoned peacoats. There's a big emphasis on outerwear in this Fall collection, including a raccoon-hooded parka and an enormous shearling coat. The brand's big splash came from its stretchy, paneled Biker jeans, which are here again, but so is a simpler, straight-leg model of Japanese extraction. Styled in piled-on layers, Decarnin's look can be very aggressive. But piece by piece, its simplicity is its strength. One fashion editor whispered that Balmain is his go-to for dressing "real guys," those who object to capital-F fashion, for shoots. That might raise the eyebrows of Balmainiac mademoiselles, but the label's expanding U.S. fan base won't be surprised. That's what they're buying it for, and amortized over time into cost-per-wear, they might even tell you it's a bargain.