Autumn/Winter 2015-16 Saint Laurent

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. That was surely the thinking from Saint Laurent front man Hedi Slimane this season, now in his third year at the helm of the house. With this collection, which proceeded to be another dollop of everything that we have come to expect from his hand, the designer continued in his pursuit of outfitting rock chicks the world over (world domination is no exaggeration).

His runway was akin to the O2 stadium; well, sort of, in that it looked like a stage that a grimy band might step out on at any given moment, bad vocals and all. Except they didn’t. Blinding stadium lights switched on and the runway was elevated up to music festival heights (which added a bitter taste of self-importance, the audience now serving as diehard fans, looking up in adoration). There were tulle prom dresses worn with mannish tweed blazers or leather jackets and laddered fishnet tights; the super skinny ‘Le Smoking’ complete with braces, twinkling dishevelled party dresses, fur coats (the sort that you might hope to find on a good day at Camden market) leopard capes, and a lot of micro mini leather skirts, everything atop spiky boots. No surprises.

What these mean in the grand scheme of things? While this looks like everything we have ever seen before, and his critics are left wondering how – and perhaps more pertinently, when – he’s going to move things along, Slimane is doing something right: sales at Saint Laurent are rocketing. Also on the plus side: everything you have ever bought here since his arrival is still relevant, and at these price tags, that’s no bad thing.



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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