paris fashion week: balmain
(images via ny mag)
probably the most excitement i felt chez balmain s/s 2011 was in seeing the mostly-retired-from-catwalks canadian lovely daria werbowy return to the scene (above). that, and carmen kass sporting a new haircut.
with silhouettes that resembled less polished versions of isabel marant’s f/w 2010 show, designer christophe decarnin set the stage to the tune of sid vicious singing ‘my way’, and let his girls tramp out all befitted in their punky getups.
wwd, while seeing it for what it is, views it kindly; “This was not intellectual fashion, nor does it pretend to be. “I’ve always loved punk,” explained Decarnin backstage. “I think it’s very strong.” And at face value, the collection once again lived up to its reputation as the label for fun, flashy clothes for women with money — lots of it — who want to feel young.”
certainly it is that, but it’s also a disturbing reappropriation of a movement that couldn’t scorn a house like balmain more. (remember the debacle over the ripped t-shirt retailing for $1600?) as people have noted time & again, this isn’t a house revolutionary in any way. and a house known for tagging its pieces with car-sized prices.
yet it, and balenciaga today, as well, have deemed it necessary to let high end women channel the punk movement, complete with torn fishnets and paint splatters (or perhaps that’s meant to evoke vomit).
this leads to a hard question. yes, i see fashion as an art, and yes, i think poverty & ugly things are sometimes necessary conversations to have, even in the clothing industry. maybe if it were done at houses that seem more sympathetic to the underworld like rick owens, but for the big labels known for dressing the pop-culturey-ist celebrities (beyonce in balmain, nicole kidman in balenciaga), known for charging at the top of a very steep food chain, it doesn’t seem to work.
not to mention the whole concept reeks of ridiculous. hmm…dressing women my mum’s age in counter-culture combat boots & ripped garb, smoking their unfiltered fags, drinking whiskey from a dirty printed bottle and screeching obscenities. yes, that fits, i suppose? perhaps, too, at the end, this isn’t a feeling, an idea taken from the punk movement, but an attempt to emulate that movement itself. and aren’t all these society women dressed in their expensive garb supposed to draw admiring eyes, rather than the scorn & derision of the types they’re actually imitating, all at once hoping to inspire? i wouldn’t buy the clothes, but i will enjoy the last bit come next spring.
(see the full show here)