June 27, 2012 Paris
The house-favorite military gear took easily to its new inspiration. It's tweaked rather than overturned: The new jacket of the season is the Spencer, short-sleeved and rolled, with epaulets and pleated pockets in jungle-going khaki, the new top a black leather camp shirt, the new pièce de résistance, a hand-woven raffia jacket, inspired by café seats in Havana. Tailoring is a new point of focus. "I would like to open Balmain to another customer, too," Rousteing said, adding suiting details to nontraditional pieces (like the silk lapels that sprung from a Perfecto jacket) and creating more traditional tailored pieces: longer, rounder-shouldered jackets with a vintage feel ("like your granddad's," Rousteing said) and two new pant silhouettes, one with deep double pleats, one in a jodhpur shape. The pants didn't, you had to admit, quite work. It could be that he needs a matter of time to develop them, or it could be that they're a misstep—but, if you will, a misstep in the right direction. Rousteing deserves credit for personalizing—even at the risk of jeopardizing—Balmain's steady business, a sacred (cash) cow. He's been an able steward so far. The lion hunt continues.