Sister Act For Balmain

It all started with a kiss. After last season’s men’s campaign picturing Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West mid-embrace, creative director Olivier Rousteing decided to continue that spirit of love and togetherness and photograph siblings for Balmain’s Fall 2015 men’s and women’s ads. “While I watched Mario [Sorrenti] capture a kiss last fall, I was struck by the love and emotion that I was witnessing in front of me,” Rousteing noted. “Starting with a determination to once again focus on the beauty of an intimate connection, my team and I quickly concluded that a celebration of the unique and unconditional love of siblings is a natural progression from the spirit of last season.”

The resulting images, also by Sorrenti, show Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Gigi and Bella Hadid, and—debuting exclusively here—Joan and Erika Smalls in Balmain’s Fall 2015 line. The process of photographing siblings was just as moving as photographing husband and wife to the creative director, who remarked, “Watching them work together also made clear to me the universality of an age-old truth: the truly powerful strength, support, and love that family members can provide to one another.” In the photo above, the Smalls sisters show off some of that power while sporting two of Rousteing’s slinky black-and-gold looks. Sure, Erika Smalls might not be a household name like her top-model sister, but one look at this image and you get the sense that might soon change.

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Autumn/Winter 2015-16 Balmain

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Those transfixed by Kim Kardashian’s new platinum blonde hairdo, which she debuted on the front row at Balmain, were shocked from their trance when Alessandra Ambrosio opened the show in full, in-your-face, wham-bam, glamazon glory.

She entered in a cut-to-the navel, floor-length, mustard pleated gown, belted with glossy leather. Glamour is to be expected at Balmain, but the fab-factor was dialled way up.

Vintage undertones ran deep here – if it was J.W. Anderson‘s job in London to banish the Seventies revival in favour of the Eighties, then Olivier Rousteing has picked up the baton in Paris. Although Rousteing’s show notes claimed a Seventies reference, most of these proportions – and that fierce femme attitude – felt more at home in an Eighties context.

When the collection did riff on the Seventies, then that was visible in the billowing chiffon jumpsuits, printed with popping florals and finished with a ruffled décolletage.

A focus on proportion asserted itself in wide-leg ballooning flares in fine, high-shimmer fabric, pin-tucked to accentuate the pertest of derrières, which were divine; think Pleats Please meets Kim Kardashian and you’re part way there.

In fact, Rousteing may have a #BalmainArmy but Kim was clearly the muse inspiring this collection. The newly blonde bombshell looked particularly taken with a pair of sheer lace kick flares, worn with a sheer lace top tucked into a high waist, and cinched with a wide, pearl-embellished belt.

And below the waist? Perhaps the biggest surprise came in the cover up. These clothes were designed to be less fleshy than what we have come to expect from 28-year-old Rousteing. He chooses long-legged, glowing, robust-looking girls to walk in his show (the kind of gloriously sexy goddesses you’d find walking the Victoria’s Secret runway) and there’s always oodles of skin on display. Legs when visible were in tights – a low, possibly eight-denier by the looks of things.

This was of course an autumn/winter collection, so perhaps that explains the long-sleeves and the heavier handwriting, but it must have been about more than seasonality. Perhaps this woman wants to trade less on her sexuality and more on her talents; let’s face it…

The Balmain woman is so fierce she doesn’t feel the cold.

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