ARCENCPostings

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Paris Fashion Week: Balmain's spring and summer 2019 collection has (Egyptian) mummy issues - Los Angeles Times

http://www.latimes.com/fashion/la-ig-pfw-balmain-20180929-story.html


Paris Fashion Week: Balmain's spring and summer 2019 collection has (Egyptian) mummy issues

Adam Tschorn

<http://www.latimes.com/la-bio-adam-tschorn-staff.html>
By Adam Tschorn <http://www.latimes.com/la-bio-adam-tschorn-staff.html#nt=byline>
Sep 29, 2018 | 4:15 PM
| Paris
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Paris Fashion Week: Balmain's spring and summer 2019 collection has (Egyptian) mummy issues
Looks from Balmain's spring and summer 2019 runway collection presented on Sept. 28 during Paris
Fashion Week. (Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images)

Balmain's creative director Olivier Rousteing is an earnest and enthusiastic fellow, traits that
serve him well most of the time. But the mining of ancient Egyptian motifs for his spring and summer
2019 collection was not one of the times.

The show notes cast the collection, which was presented here Friday, as being inspired by two
incongruous aspects of Paris' history. The first is its role as a global fashion capital, writing "I
believe that it's our incomparable heritage of couture and its high standards of tailoring,
intricate sculpting and embellishment that distinguish us," going on to explain that the collection
was designed to pay homage to the City of Light by seeing how far he and his design team could riff
on those elements. (Spoiler alert: pretty far.)

The second is the designer's fascination with "the impressive obelisks, pyramids and columns that
date from Napoleon's campaigns and adorn the city's most iconic public spaces." The most prominent
of these is the Luxor Obelisk, a 3,300-year-old, 75-foot-tall, hieroglyph-covered granite column
which has stood at the center of the Place de la Concorde since 1836.

The first of these inspirations could be seen in the sculptural dresses that fanned out in pleated
semicircles from wrist to shoulder (some in fabric, others in silver chain mail), geometric shards
of glass and metal meticulously assembled like a milky glass mirror that's been shattered and
reassembled like a jigsaw puzzle. Glittery pieces of metal cinched waists, enclosed upper torsos and
piled atop severely strong shoulders.

Looks form the spring and summer 2019 Balmain runway collection.
Looks form the spring and summer 2019 Balmain runway collection. (Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images)

The strong-shouldered silhouette could also be seen in many of the Egyptian-inspired pieces
including the hieroglyphics-pattern black-and-white tops and one of the geometric glass dresses
emblazoned with the stylized image of a pharaoh on the front.

So far so good with the ancient Egypt references, but what took the collection into Halloween
costume territory — and we mean this literally — were the assortment of pieces inspired by the gauzy
bandages that wrap mummies. These included a pair of trousers that looked as if they'd been fitted
onto the model from a roll of Charmin, a wrapped and draped cold-shouldered tulle top, and a
strong-shouldered bandage dress so barely there, a gauzy James Perse T-shirt seems like chain mail
by comparison.

Although Rousteing's exercise in envelope-pushing was an unabashed success on the technical side,
when it came to the ancient Egypt side of the equation, the mummy-bandage look felt more cartoonish
than couture.

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