CRYSTAL VISIONS: Developing daywear may be on the agenda at Balmain as part of the house’s growth strategy under its new chief executive officer, Massimo Piombini, but there’s no letting go of the glitz. Case in point — a crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 that hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection.
Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the weighty item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director Olivier Rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday.
Also rich in denim, jersey and knitwear, the expansive pre-fall 2018 men’s lineup spans casual fare and blinged-out items fit for the stage. “There is the same diversity as for the women’s,” said the designer. The brand counts personalities including Cristiano Ronaldo, Justin Bieber, Kanye West and Zayn Malik among its devotees, but is also “looking to attract a broader male audience” as part of its international expansion. Men’s wear currently represents around 40 percent of total sales.
Rousteing described the collection as a mirror reflection of the Balmain woman, but also himself. “My approach was also what I want to wear myself next winter,” he said.
Depending on the time or place, that could mean sporty biker-inspired gear or more classic fare like a Prince of Wales double-breasted jacket, sailor knits and peacoats. There’s also the signature peacock-rock fare like T-shirts heaving with Ziggy Stardust-themed embroidery. The brand’s core client for men’s falls in the 20 to 35 age bracket, according to Rousteing.
Citing a men’s wear “revolution,” the male customer over the seven years that he has been designing men’s for the house, alongside the women’s line, is more open to embracing “glamor without feeling ridiculous,” he said.
“I can push boundaries more now,” said Rousteing, who on Tuesday will head to Rome for a dinner at the Palazzo Sacchetti as an early celebration of a new store due to open in Milan in April. A Miami store is also in the pipeline for the end of 2018.