Has Balmain Lost Its Identity?

The Balmain frenzy is over. Their presentation this past Saturday barely earned any coverage on any fashion-forward Instagram. Perhaps it’s simply poor marketing. In recent history, the driving force of popularity for the Paris house has been rooted in promotion from Kim K and the rest of the Kardashians. With her obvious lack of desire to return to Paris after her robbery, Kim hasn’t been on the front lines of the Olivier Rousteing designed label. With Kim K remaining in LA to raise her young children and strictly support her husband’s line, does the brand have the viability to maintain relevance? The only way to do so is through the quality of the collections shown to us during Paris Fashion Week. But did this year’s men’s collection stand out on its own?

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In the opinion of this self-proclaimed fashion critic, no. While there’s a clear brand identity with the structure of the clothes, the camo-filled, dystopian-esque collection seemed to speak to the internal screaming of Rousteing’s recognizing his imminent downfall. Instead of creating a collection of inherent opulence as the house has done in the past, the collection was more subdued and seemed to be a lazy attempt to stand out while really falling into the background and allowing the rest of the collections shown during #PFW to take first place. However, this critic’s biggest issue with the Balmain collection doesn’t  sit with the lack of innovation in this season’s presentation, but the lack of precision with some of the patterns. One look’s camouflage doesn’t match the next, same with the houndstooth (which also is reminiscent of Stella McCartney’s houndstooth pattern from a few seasons back) looking poorly manufactured and rather pixelated.

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Without the powerhouse that is the marketing of the Kardashians and the innovations and precision that used to be rooted in the fashion house since its inception, Balmain might need to rethink their priorities and focus on quality and brand identity. Let’s see what they do for FW18 women’s next month.

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To see the full collection, head over to Vogue Italia for a slideshow of every look here.

Author: Vince Calvi

MBA Candidate, Global Fashion Media at IFA Paris

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