Balmain Pre-Fall 2022 Is "Kurt Cobain-Meets-Marie-Antoinette"12/09/2021
“As I wrap up my first decade at Balmain, there’s been a lot of talk about turning pages, closing chapters and opening new books,” says Balmain’s Creative Director Olivier Rousteing as he introduces his latest collection for Pre-Fall 2022. Never falling short of delivering sartorial statements, the French designer has pulled out all the stops to reinvent Balmain’s menswear offering this season, tapping into what he calls a “Kurt Cobain-meets-Marie-Antoinette” aesthetic — and it’s duly paid off.
Rousteing recalls his friendship with Ed Filipowski, the co-founder of KCD, who pushed him to explore “new possibilities, constantly repeating that he believed that I had the potential to drive needed changes for fashion’s next act.” This inspirational message to push drives Balmain Pre-Fall 2022, which presents a new era for the house as it steps into its grunge phase.
But Filipowski’s words aren’t the only source of inspiration here. Last year, Rousteing suffered from life-changing burns following an accident, which went on to filter into his work: cuts and embellishments came alongside worn, patched and irregular twists on garments, subverting traditional couture tropes in such a way that he has honored his ethos of exploring new possibilities.
For Pre-Fall 2022, the rock references that are often found in Balmain are elevated to new degrees. Rough grunge edges are couture-ified, Kurt Cobain’s thrift store habits litter throughout with the use of DIY touches and looks that reinterpret Rousteing’s earlier work, while baroque references juxtapose this language eloquently, as if to respect the freedom of ’90s grunge.
The result is some of Rousteing’s finest, pairing houndstooth blazers with exaggerated shoulders with ornate broaches and a deep V-neck black-and-white striped distressed sweater vest underneath, decorating the look with counter-culture-inspired graphic-adorned bags. Elsewhere, oversized, distressed, off-the-shoulder sweaters have been covered in pearl embellishments, while a rocker-biker aesthetic (which is typical of Balmain) is elevated with the use of leather, looking as if it’s been well-loved, if not raced in, for decades.
Teaming up with Fox Racing, Balmain customizes motorbike boots and motocross helmets to add to the styling of these leather-clad looks, while Balmain takes this one step further with its take on a motocross jersey adorned with sporty “B” branding on a crest on the chest.
In complete contrast, huge faux fur coats add a sense of opulence, as do the regal blazers that are an archetypical style of Balmain. Layers are complemented by their volume and extended sleeves add to the grunge aesthetic, while formal double-breasted coats are covered in badges — highly detailed ones at that — but of course, this once again harks back to grunge customization.
Rounding out the oeuvre are floor-length coats paired with racing gloves and neon green Fox Racing boots, velvet suits, and a whole host of new accessories. Rousteing describes it all in one sentence: “A perfect form of beauty can often be found in what others can only see as imperfections.”
Take a look at Balmain’s Pre-Fall 2022 menswear collection above, and expect it to land in boutiques from mid-next-year.
In other news, Magliano has unveiled its SS22 collection.
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