When Balmain announced last week it was to be bought by Qatar's Mayhoola, all eyes were to be on Creative Director Olivier Rousteing on day four of Paris fashion week. With imminent plans to expand Balmain's retail presence and invest in further development of its accessories, there were high expectations of a new dawn at Balmain's SS17 men's presentation.


Balmain's army for SS17 is a colourful tribe, no longer the black, beige, bling and metallics we have come to expect from this French luxury house, now firmly established as Kardashian chic. The show opened with full denim looks, pale, bleached, soft and layered, textured with Balmain signature zippers, belts and luxe accoutrements. It then blended into military greens and oranges consisting of kaftan jackets in rich suedes, with plenty of the Balmain eyelet and tie closures. A Versace inspired colour palette subsequently emerged; aqua, red, cobalt, often mixed together in lurex print or embellishment. The bottom half consisted mostly of that Balmain staple, the legging, jegging, or drop-crotch trouser. There weren't as many accessories as this editor expected, but perhaps these will be a bigger focus for either wholesale or Balmain's women's presentation in October.


Just like Balmain has its army, Hermès too has its loyal tribe, although perhaps never the two shall meet. Hermès, founded as a leather business, can be bold too, and for SS17 there was certainly a striking colour palette, which consisted of a near neon yellow and Tyrian purple injection of hues. A cardigan in cognac leather opened the show, it's buttery-softness ample evidence of fine quality, sleeves casually rolled over a striped crew neck. Thus is the look of Hermès, never gauche or overly designed by that oft cruel hand of fashion. Designer Véronique Nichanian knows the customer at this end of the economic scale isn't interested in flamboyance the way a fashionista gets excited by trend-led brands. As Vogue.com noted, why re-invent the wheel when you can afford to reupholster the carriage every season.


London may have celebrated 40 years of Punk earlier this month, but its influence has spread far and beyond, including in Kris van Assche's collection for Dior this weekend. With a set reminiscent of a fairground, it reminded Assche of his Antwerp days where the new wave kids would come to hang out. Although van Assche's work is much too clean to be labeled as punk, there were plenty of references in his hybrid sportswear, with models sporting black nail varnish, neck jewellery, eyelet closures on trousers and jacket sleeves and a luxury version of a Dr Martens boot. Dior may be well known for its impeccably cut tailoring, but there were no classic suits shown on the runway. Perhaps these were omitted for the sake of the show and laying a foundation for the collection image, but you would hope these will remain available for a customer who is not likely to invest in a suit cum harness hybrid.


There is always a complexity to a Sacai collection, a typical Japanese trademark where every fine detail is considered before execution. The Peruvian Chalan or South American gaucho provided plenty of inspiration, with the poncho offered as a wardrobe staple. So too Sacai founder and designer Chitose Abe crossed continents blending in Americana lumberjack checks and utilitywear. All of which had a Japanese makeover with carefully thought out details, like fabric covered buttons and bowler hats reminiscent of A Clockwork Orange. Abe's designs are always multi-dimensional, and perhaps as she owns 100 percent of the business, there is no outside force interfering with her creativity.

FashionUnited will focus on the menswear catwalk season during the month of June, by featuring exclusive and in-depth coverage on Men's Fashion Weeks. For all reads, click here.




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