Tuesday, October 21, 2008

At the Root of the Balmain Craze

Christopher Kane Spring 2007

Balmain S/s 09

According to the Sunday edition of the New York Times, Balmain is having its moment. I would argue rock & roll/biker inspired blouses used as dresses are having their moment. The silhouette of the Balmain dresses in question are the same as Christopher Kane Spring 2007 collection. These bondage inspired dress harked back to vintage Alaia and Versace, a high point in 80s/90s fashion.

I am not inferring that Christophe Decarnin is a copycat, when he is a true artist. I am as entranced by his creations as the Vogue Paris editorial team. But perhaps the heightened effect of his designs is their timing.

French style is also about the mix: biker boots with sequins, a smoking jacket with court shoes sans pants. The artful representation of it requires extremes to balance out each ensemble. Balmain dresses are the ideal dress under your father's jacket, with gladiator sandals or boots, with leather cord wrist cuffs, and no make-up. It references glam rock but encourages you to stray. Like Christopher Kane's creations, they are a perfect base for a cool girl's wardrobe.

Vogue Paris Nov. 2008

The accessorizing here is brilliant as well. I love mixing oldschool watches with cuffs, charm bracelets, and bangles. I also adore the babushka silk headscarf. Perfectly undone, functional, and beautiful. These are great ways to brighten up a dreary winter morning.

One more Clemence Post

Undone hair? Check. Fag in hand? Check. This spread from Vogue Italia's August issue's exhibits triumphant use of accessories. The hosiery and whimsical cuff make the outfit. On the other hand, with the ensemble's greatest strength being its irony, stock up on preppy do-dads; you need to have things to undo with dark and lovely add-ons.

If you love that cuff, check out some of the latest pieces from Jcrew's costume collection. Much of it is Lanvin and Dior inspired.

Hat Drama

I loved this shot of Clemence Poesey for T Magazine (NYT) because it showcases young french style blended in with current runway trends, like dramatic hats, ladylike dressing, and South American flair. Despite the massive ruffles and very 'obvious' pretty feel, it is so french due to the black-on-black, paired down silhouette, and Clemence's doll-like complexion.

By substituting the court shoes with statement boots and throwing on a sweatercoat, this outfit easily holds up in the winter.

Emmanuelle Mixes High/Low

altamira nyc
Emmanuelle Alt, the fashion director of Vogue Paris, artfully mixes dirty denim with couture footwear and biker mystique. It touches on an essential theme of the french gamine look: fabulousity and glamour are attainable sans bubblegum charm and bottomless purses. Did you notice---No it-bags! The chicest girl can get by with a clutch.