The colours were popping, the sparkle was twinkling, the music was pounding, and a newly blonde Kim Kardashian was in ecstasy at the Balmain collection.
Designer Olivier Rousteing was more than an orchestrator of this 3D-style glamour, which teamed pants falling liquid in silken pleats, fur in all its puffy lightness, and Lurex stripes tracing the torso.
He has reinvented the once-staid house of Balmain as a glittering prize for audacious (and wealthy) women. But backstage, before the arrival of Kim and Kanye, Rousteing, who was handpicked for Balmain by the late Chairman Alain Hivelin, explained that his feelings ran deep. He said that as the only mixed-race designer among the classic Parisian houses, he tried to establish a diverse look. This season he was inspired by the 1970s to create flared pants that drooled and formed molten puddles across the catwalk, but was also interested in its exoticism and diversity.
The confidence exuding from this show was exceptional and put a fine spirit into clothes that shone as bright as the rippling lamé. From the Seventies came fringes dancing at hips and hem, but from the horizontal pleats to the semi-transparent lace, all was sensual and body conscious.
Does Rousteing go too far with his women, who seemed to me more like the glass-ceiling breakers of the early Eighties than fey hippies?
I liked the spirit of pieces that included the designer’s bold tailoring, his craftsmanship in slicing patterned jersey and the placing of abstract geometric prints.
The clothes are not for everyone. But fashion needs the Balmain brave heart.