September 30, 2006
Since relaunching Balmain last season, designer Christophe Decarnin has scored his share of red-carpet coupsa freshly cropped Audrey Tautou in a short white number at the Cannes premiere of The DaVinci Code being the most notable. So it's no surprise that his focused sophomore effort concentrated primarily on abbreviated party frocks of the sort favored by young Hollywood. His olive, white, or black strapless, one-shoulder, and halter styles continued to inch up the legs, and he also laid on the hardware for spring. Gold chains dripped from one shift, brass studs decorated chain-mail hems, and coils of silver sequins snaked around the neck. "I was going for an armor look," said the designer, whose predilection for such materials may have come from a late-nineties stint at Paco Rabanne. Arching bell sleeves and lantern cuffs, meanwhile, were inspired by Balmain's eighties archives. It's hard to see what the show's metallic leather dhotis and tattered and deconstructed teessome with panels of sequins, others held together with safety pins have to do with the house's legacy. But will those same starlets soon be wearing them? You bet.