Presented on Wednesday evening, Balmain's spring/summer 2024 fashion show will be remembered for the theft suffered by the luxury label a few days earlier. It will also be celebrated for the work accomplished with resilience by the teams who had to work hard in order to offer a show on a date that had not been postponed.
Balmain, spring/summer 2024
The SS24 silhouettes walked the Balmain catwalk in the muted softness of a blue-upholstered decor, revealing nothing of the reported struggles. The 50 parts stolen a few days earlier all seemed to have been replaced. At first glance, the urgency with which the show had been put back together was not apparent. But why should it be? The fashion ecosystem, and fashion weeks in particular, are notorious for the sleepless nights that teams often have to pull before an event. A habit if we are to believe the documentary series "The Day Before", made by journalist Loïc Prigent in 2009, where we got a sense of the stress that reigns during the hours leading up to the shows.
At the end of the show, creative director Olivier Rousteing shared a joyous video on his Instagram account of his team who were seated on the steps of the Trocadéro, congratulating them with a big "Bravo". The video caption read: "I love my Balmain team”. The mood was upbeat, and Olivier Rousteing's words were received with fervour.
In the press release, the creative director also didn’t forget to mention teamwork, clearly integrating it into his sentences. Like an anaphora, the words "My team and I" punctuated the text.
The mention of the flight only came at the end of the document. These words, added as a postscript, corroborated the image of a fashion industry used to working hard and in a hurry during fashion weeks.
"(...) in fashion, a big part of the job is always trying to deal with the unexpected as best you can," wrote Olivier Rousteing. He added: "(...) instead of rehashing the facts, I'd like to add a note of thanks to this press release. And I owe many thanks to many people. First of all to the Balmain team. I will always remember your impressive efforts, as everyone pulled together and worked that much harder to make up for our losses. You were already exhausted, but you found the strength to ensure that a theft would not affect our show. Today, even more than before, I am filled with admiration for your talents and gratitude for your extraordinary spirit. Thank you."
’A system that tolerates no mistakes’
To describe the situation the brand's teams had to face, the media outlet 1 Granary, a platform dedicated to education in the fashion sector, wrote on its Instagram account: "You can see it as a team of people working together in the name of their creations, or a team of people who have to go above and beyond in the name of a system that tolerates no mistakes."
This point of view echoed the book "The best job in the world", in which the author, Giulia Mensitieri, highlighted "the reality of work at work behind the glamorous façade of fashion". The book looks at "the dynamics of exploitation and self-exploitation as well as the social prestige associated with working in a desirable environment."
From the general press, the post-Balmain show fallout has been positive, with applause for the work accomplished. Vogue noted that "it's a real show that Olivier Rousteing has delivered"; BFM TV spoke of "a perfect example of resilience"; at the Huffingtonpost it was reported that "Olivier Rousteing is causing a sensation"; while L'Officiel wrote "Nothing could stop the designer Olivier Rousteing".