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Olivier Rousteing Finds Inspiration in His Hometown of Bordeaux for Balmain Fall 2024

“For me, what’s most important is to make the house relevant and to keep the legacy of timeless elegance.”

Designer Olivier Rousteing makes this declaration amid a big shift in his work for Balmain of late, as it’s gotten increasingly self-referential and autobiographical. For example, in his Spring 2022 collection (which marked a decade at the French fashion house), he included a series of bandage-like wovens meant to look like gauze wraps, as he’d spent the year prior recovering from a burn accident. This time, he’s pulling inspiration from the region in which he grew up, connecting it to the history of the maison of which he’s now the keeper.

“It’s time for me to be confident enough to explore my origins and, at the same time, explore the archives of the house,” he told Fashionista backstage. “The house [was] built in 1945, and I was trying to go back to the incredible inspiration of Monsieur Pierre Balmain and his garden of fruit, his obsession for grapes that he was using in jewelry and in couture in the ’40s.” 

Rousteing and his team began in the archives, and only later did he bring in his own personal touchpoints, referencing his upbringing in Bordeaux, a region known for its grape varieties. Grapes are the main motif of the season, followed closely by strawberries (from Mr. Balmain’s garden) and snail shells (for escargot, a regional delicacy) — seen in prints, some of them crystal-encrusted; as well as in totes, as charms, as evening bags, in jacquards, as statement earrings, as buckles on belts, as necklaces, as bustier tops and as trims on jackets. (Will this make the Grape Girl the heir apparent to Tomato Girl’s throne?) 

The grape bustiers and 3D trims follow the style of the sculptural florals from last season, a hit among Rousteing’s fan base. It’s a continuation of the designer’s concern for preserving craftsmanship, he explained, working with artisanal suppliers and keeping the savoir-faire alive. 

Other Bordeaux callbacks are less literal: There are trench coat-inspired and -derivative pieces (from more traditional jackets to hooded top-and-trouser sets to form-fitted dresses) that speak to its rainy weather, while the supersized Vichy plaids and the green viscose furry coat that closed the show call to mind checked picnic blankets and grassy fields, respectively. 

Whereas the first decade of Rousteing’s Balmain pretty much epitomized party-dressing, with its strong shoulders, short skirts and embellishments upon embellishments, the more recent collections feel more concerned with tapping into the elegance and restraint of mid- to late-20th-century fashion. There’s still a focus on silhouette and shape, but it’s worked out in the form of high-waisted pleated trousers, leather overcoats, asymmetric A-line skirts and boxy jackets. 

Rousteing sees modernity in looking back — “to understand the past, to better understand the present and to clearly have a vision for the future.” He’s over this idea that a single trend has to dominate a moment: “What’s more modern is to actually understand the past and bring it to today. With the world that we’re living in, I think people need to feel more confident to actually understand the legacy and the message of the house, beyond and instead of just following a trend.”

See every single look from Balmain Fall 2024 below.

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Balmain Fall 2024. Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

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Source: Fashionista.com

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