From a showroom abuzz with buyers placing their Pre-Fall orders six weeks earlier than usual, Olivier Rousteing appeared stoked by all the developments owing to Balmain’s new owner (Mayhoola for Investments) and new CEO (Massimo Piombini). In addition to preparing for a forthcoming flagship in Milan on Via Monte Napoleone, he’s been encouraged to expand both the ready-to-wear range – including the debut of men’s Pre-Fall – and accessories.

Sales from the Spring season are up 30 percent year-over-year, with emerging categories such as knitwear now representing 30 percent of the business. The latest bag offering, which spans classic box shapes with gold chains to extreme novelty styles (glitter floating through clear acrylic; purses modeled after Starbucks cups), occupied an entire room.

“It’s hard for a designer after seven years to feel like there can be a new chapter,” admitted Rousteing, ever youthful. “They’re making me feel that there’s a new story to tell.”

But all this internal reinforcement wasn’t the only story behind such a dazzlingly Parisian collection. With his take on the French tricolor—that is, blue, silver, and red—the designer was seizing on the positive energy so palpable in the French capital right now. He electrified the motif as zigzag and chevron patterns so that the results registered equal parts patriotic and Ziggy Stardust.

Dialed up, this David Bowie via Pierre Balmain vibe played out as fresh velvet versions of his maximalist rock star jackets, which he paired with embellished concert tees, and strass-studded velvet leggings, masculine trousers, or patent jeans. Dialed down, it was present in comparatively wearable Prince of Wales suiting and herringbone cotton tweeds. The heritage aspect was most apparent in the liberal use of a medallion referring to the maison crest created roughly a half-century ago. Consider the emblem an updated way for his Balmain army to signal their continued allegiance.

He reiterated, however, that Meryl is as much a muse as Kendall; and with Brigitte Macron wearing his sharp-shouldered jackets, it’s increasingly apparent that the glam gal perception of the brand might be too narrow. Indeed, for all the glitz of the intricate constellation patterns, the emphasis on statement knits and velvet jersey proved a welcome message. While many pieces remained resolutely body-con, there were also structured knit jackets, tunics, lacquered quilted pullovers, and oversize bombers.

Altogether, they presented a unified front against the clear plastic, lustrous leather, glossy PVC, and hologram effects that were more of a piece with his recent cameo at Victoria’s Secret than what his broadening customer base will ultimately wear.

The marinière theme that he introduced on the Spring runway reappeared as new baroque interpretations: Think fringed Lurex miniskirts or toppers dripping with embroidery. If not for every day, the looks crystallized the heartfelt vision Rousteing was eager to project as a native French designer.

“France is way more attractive these days; we should keep pushing that attraction and being proud,” he said. “We have a chance right now to shine, so let’s keep shining.” In that respect, women will be spoiled for choice.

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