If you’re looking for subtle, understated luxury fashion, then perhaps the Balmain show isn't for you. On Thursday afternoon, creative director Olivier Rousteing served up his signature maximalist, hyper-embellished, multi-textured vision on a diverse army of strong women at his usual venue, the Hôtel Potocki in Paris. But for fall 2017, Balmain was inspired by an unexpected source – namely '90s band Nirvana – as well as rebellion and road-tripping.
Rousteing explained in the show notes: "I was just a kid during Nirvana’s heyday, but their powerful music of rebellion definitely marked me then – and continues to resonate with me today. Those liberating lyrics advised us to ignore guidelines of what’s expected and remain true to ourselves. It’s that same mindset that propels today’s strong women as they march down the runway. They’ve embarked on the perfect road trip, picking up influence while traveling across the globe’s most awe-inspiring landscapes – the Serengeti, the Far West, Amazonia."
The collection was certainly a whistle-stop tour of the world via the animals that roam across each continent – there were tiger-print dresses, zebra leggings, wolves on T-shirts, snakeskin thigh-high boots, fur jackets, cowhide, colorful feathers, and dresses embellished with glittering beaded birds. As the lights came up to the sound of Nirvana’s cult classic "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Gigi Hadid opened the show in a brown-toned beaded fringe skirt, eyelet-studded belt, and tie-dye T-shirt with a bold gold lip cuff. Despite the rock-focused soundtrack, which also included Aerosmith's "Dream On," the handful of T-shirts were the only vague indication of a grungy Nirvana influence – the essence of rebellion was more a feeling than actually manifest in the clothing.