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"The way the system works now, you see the clothes, within an hour or so they're online, the world sees them. They don't get to a store for six months. The next week, young celebrity girls are wearing them on red carpets. They're in every magazine. The customer is bored with those clothes by the time they get to the store. They're overexposed, you're tired of them, they've lost their freshness".
Tom Ford
















1.09.2017

Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is a wunderkind who you’d think has it all. However, he's not entirely happy. We already had a hint of it in a New Yorker profile last year. He expanded in the aftermath. The catalyst was a question : he was asked whether, since he seems to be so much about love and community and family, his constant emphasis on #BalmainArmy was just a little aggressive ? He had something to say, point-blank into a recording device : "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 AM 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% sold out -I have the numbers. So at least if you don't respect my aesthetic, respect that I am a businessman". As for the show : it was, well, definitive Rousteing Balmain. Within that context -and that is a key caveat- it was a goodie. Imagine some long-lost, isolated 19th-century statelet in which someone had used a time machine to travel into the future and bring back Liberace and drop-crotch pants. We were there. Rococo met Fabergé met War and Peace met Versailles met Claude Montana met Dune met Highlander, in a dizzying display of outré resplendence pitched at the aristocracy of money. Soldier-wise, Balmain conscripted a crack squad of sharp cheekbones : Baptiste Giabiconi not at Chanel ? Jon Kortajarena, Sean O'Pry, Marlon Teixeira, Francisco Lachowski, Jordan Barrett, Lucky Blue ? This was the masculine counterpoint to Balmain women's Naomi-Cindy-Claudia campaign. Monsieur Rousteing says that those who snipe and gripe that his clothes don't reflect reality stupidly miss the fact that enough people buy Balmain to bankroll that level of casting, so it must reflect a certain reality. Perhaps the point is that the designer's talent is to have woven a fantastic unreality, one that ignites the fantasies and desires and financial outlay of his customers. And that's fashion. Three little girls, perhaps seven years old, were at the show : they said it was their first. Afterward, they appeared to be stunned, in rapture. You can’t have everything, Olivier : so don’t sweat the small stuff. Love the army you have.

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