"I'm inspired about being 30!" said Olivier Rousteing of Balmain, while outside the gilded ballroom of the InterContinental Paris Le Grand the crowd screamed at the arrival of any celeb, but especially an orange-clad Kris Jenner (part of the Kardashian gang).
She had come to see her daughter Kendall on the runway, wearing two typical outfits for Balmain today: a white dress with a cleavage peephole and a lattice skirt; and a bodycon catsuit in rusty brown curves.
Rousteing has been at Balmain for four years and he is increasingly certain of his agenda: a belief in diversity on the runway — of clothes and of the people who wear them. The designer said that preparing a capsule collection for H&M had encouraged him to examine what he stood for.
"And I challenge myself," the designer added. "I want more fluidity, more lightness."
Rousteing lived up to his own expectations in this show. There were still Amazonian women striding out in sexually charged outfits, where bandeaux criss-crossed the chest and mesh was open weave. But there was a new softness and even frills cascading down the legs of the lightest of leather trousers. The women wore wide metallic collars, or ones with macramé sheaths of intense handwork.
Burnt orange lightening to a ginger or mustard and a rich blue suggested the colours of Africa.
The Balmain house seems to have shrugged off entirely its polite, Parisian heritage. But within the limits of his vision and with the advantage of intense studio handwork, Rousteing had something to say to, and about women.