Fashion Flashback: Balmain Fall 2001 Couture

Looking at Oscar de la Renta’s couture collection for Balmain, I can understand why he is commonly called America’s greatest couturier. When I think of the women who would actually buy couture clothing, these are the kind of outfits that I can imagine them in. I can almost guarantee that Anna Wintour owns something from this collection – Oscar is her favourite, right? I am beyond obsessed with the subtle ruching that played a big part in this collection. Also, spot the print of the skirt on the finale look. Dolce and Gabbana did a very similar one a few seasons back. I also love the fur trims, subtle ruffles, and the sparkly skirt suit (my favourite look perhaps). Also, apologies in advance for the poor image quality. I couldn’t find HQ!

I think that because everybody has access to couture shows via social media and sites like Vogue Runway and Now Fashion, we forget just how exclusive couture really is. There are reportedly less than 4000 clients in the world. Unfortunately it is often proclaimed a dying industry, although it is a fantastic marketing tool. You may not be able to afford Dior couture but you can probably afford a perfume or a lipstick, even if it is a splurge.

It truly baffles me how 15 years later, Balmain is such a different brand. I can’t understand how it has changed so much. I guess different creative directors bring different styles. However, for the entire time that I’ve known of Balmain (starting say mid-2000s) it has been rocker chic, glitzy and glam but not stuffy, metallic and very European, bordering on Euro-trash. And that was just under Christophe Decarnin! This article about his tenure is a good read. Since his departure, Olivier Rouesting has stepped in and brought the brand to even higher heights. The Balmania/Balmain Army bullshit is boring to me but it damn sure sells (and the clothes are quite often cool, but tres repetitive). However, I bet the women who bought from this collection will not believe it is the same brand. Perhaps they will have cut the tags out? Well hopefully not, you know, for resale value…

PS – Noemie Lenoir is the baddest.

PPS – This dress is like a low-key version of the Jean Paul Gaultier “robe” that Kim Kardashian  wore to the Grammys.

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