So I am back from my weekend in Liver-(cess)pool and in between reading "Frankenstein" sparknotes, I am loving Balmain's spring 2009 collection which was shown earlier today in Paris. I'm still nursing my hangover from fall, but this is just as good. Early-Madonna is clearly the idea here, which I should say is not necessarily my favorite fashion moment. However, Christopher Decarnin's taste level is just immaculate enough to cross that line from vulgar to exquisite. I am really disappointed in the half-tutu/half-gown options (despite this mullet-dress obsession running through Paris, it did not work here), but the good is amazing enough to cancel out the bad. Here are my favorite looks, which were coincidentally given to my favorite girls: Anja, Anna and Natasha.
It is no secret that Balmain is a favorite of Carine Roitfeld and Emmanuelle Alt at Paris Vogue. It has also been seeping it's way into the closets of sophisticated/edgy women such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Moss, solidifying its path toward being the ''new'' Gucci. However, the house has also been criticized for being little more than tasteless, vulgar trash. Some opponents have wondered if the brand would be so beloved were it shown in New York or Milan instead of chic, edgy Paris. However, I think that what we see here is much smarter than what you get at Cavalli, Dolce, Versace and the like. Decarnin seems to be purposely indulging in conventions of bad taste to the extent that many of the clothes look so ugly and overworked, they would never fit into the world of someone like Beyonce or Jennifer Lopez. It is so extreme that it becomes ironic (and requires the intelligence of a woman with a sense of humor and irony), which I can appreciate. The shoulders and the colors push it over the edge and into the unusual. The soon-to-be men's collection is going to slay my checking account.
Over at Nina Ricci, Olivier Theyskens staged one of the most epic displays of poetic showmanship I have seen in years. With practically no daywear in sight, and 30+ short-in-the-front/long-in-the-back gowns, he was most certainly out to make a statement. Theyskens seems to be the most adept at playing into the desires and seductions of women at a time when all one can do is dream (or if you're not bankrupt yet, shell out $30,000 for a Nina Ricci gown). The Victorian influences with a Parisian rock and roll edge (via the hemlines) reminded me of Stephanie Seymour in Guns And Roses' "November Rain" video. It is poetic, soft, sexy, nostalgic and thoroughly modern.
Now I am off to finish reading the abridged version of a crappy monster novel. Will return to my neglected art of life-reporting tomorrow.