The Balmain Army was in full force for Fall 2016. And its leader, Olivier Rousteing made sure they were in full regalia. It was an extravagant display with all the pomp and circumstance of a Michael Jackson / Madonna farewell tour during 18th century France for Marie Antoinette. That's not necessarily bad btw. As a whole, the collection is as beautiful as it's [seemingly] unwearable with all its embellishments, embroidery, rich velvets and minks, quilted leathers and sash-like belts. On the other hand, as so often in fashion, as you begin to break down looks and observe the individual pieces, there are some very wonderful coats, jackets and pants.
Olivier Rousteing is an extremely talented designer who has accomplished so much at such a young age. He gets flack for it though, so in response to his critics and in defense of his art, Rousteing had this to say to Vogue and other members of the press: “Fashion is sometimes aggressive. I love, love, love fashion. For me, there is no aggressivity about army. I go through such a hard time in fashion, because sometimes some people don’t get who I am and what I do and my way of seeing things. So I think I build my Balmain army because when you build the Balmain world, sometimes you need soldiers more than models. Because I think sometimes fashion can be really rude—and try to destroy some designers. I went through so many things in my life and work in fashion. You know when you deal with bad critics—when you are working ’til 3:00 a.m. every night with your team—and they kill you? Fashion is a business too. I can understand criticism when it is negative or positive. But I like constructive criticism. And sometimes, it’s not.”
He added: “Sometimes, they go really personal because of my age. Because I am not 50 and I did not show more than 10 shows. So sometimes, they keep thinking that I am the teenager of fashion. I grew up in the eyes of fashion and the eyes of the cameras, and sometimes it is really hard for me. I can understand if you don’t like my aesthetic: But don’t try to push me down. I am working so hard and my business is growing . . . I don’t understand when people say Balmain is not about reality—it might not be your reality, but it is a reality of today. And if you think in London some shops are already 99 percent sold out—I have the numbers. So at least if you don’t respect my aesthetic, respect that I am a businessman.”
And there you have it. You tell 'em Olivier!