Home Fashion Balmain celebrates the kings of African elegance with surprise guest Naomi Campbell

Balmain celebrates the kings of African elegance with surprise guest Naomi Campbell

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Translated by

Roberta HERRERA

Published



Jan 22, 2024

Balmain has successfully made its comeback to the men’s runways. The French luxury house, which had not showcased its men’s collection for several years, unveiled a dazzling and explosive fashion show on Saturday evening at the Grande Halle de la Villette. The collection drew inspiration from African kings, featuring vibrant colors, gold, and whimsy, all closed by the iconic 1990s supermodel, Naomi Campbell, clad in elegant black trousers, a low-cut top, and a camel coat.

Balmain, Fall / Winter 2024-25 – ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

 
In this exuberant collection for the Fall/Winter 2024-25 season, creative director Olivier Rousteing paid a heartfelt tribute to African culture. He particularly celebrated the elegance of Africans, notably conveyed through the SAPE movement (Society of Tastemakers and Elegant People), popularized in Congo during the 1960s. It was also a way for him to reconnect with his roots. The designer, born under unknown circumstances and adopted by a family from Bordeaux, discovered his Ethiopian and Somali heritage a few years ago.
 
Models gracefully crossed the space wearing heeled ankle boots or white sneakers, a delicate golden thread adorning their faces as tribal jewelry, and sparkling bracelets encircling their upper arms. Adorned with black leather gloves and a bouquet of flowers in hand, they exuded sophistication in outfits adorned with luscious red kisses, parading in chic suits, coats, and sparkling tops.

Great attention was paid to visual aesthetics. Wide black pleated trousers, for example, were paired with optical-effect knits reminiscent of Vasarely. These graphic effects continued through a series of black pieces with white polka dots of varying sizes. Some garments took on a surreal touch, with giant mouths or eyes unfolding here and there. Lastly, other silhouettes reproduced hyper-chromatic photographs by Ghanaian visual artist Prince Gyasi through prints or fabric applications.
 
Olivier Rousteing also collaborated with British-Cameroonian artist Ibby Njoya on the color palette. Strong and joyful hues found their way into the wardrobe. A shirt opted for vibrant yellow or red, an overcoat or trousers came in shades of purple, while other pants models were dyed in royal blue or light green. Further on, the giant iris of a dawn-inspired eye graced T-shirts, suits, coats, and accessories in dazzling hues.
 

Balmain, Fall / Winter 2024-25 – ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

The collection did not neglect more relaxed ensembles with jeans, jackets, and leather pieces. For evening wear, Olivier Rousteing envisonned gold with large bracelets and cascading necklaces, as well as garments that appeared bathed in yellow metal, such as a bustier or trench coat, along with a variety of golden accessories including hats, tote bags, briefcases, helmets, and even a turban.

This audacious couture-infused collection marked Balmain’s strong comeback in men’s fashion. Menswear now represents 30% of the house’s overall sales, which has recently opened four boutiques in the United States, its primary market. With this fashion show, they aim to “restore the rightful place of men in fashion,” according to marketing director Txampi Diz.
 

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