Spring 2019 Haute Couture: Balmain's Renewal

As Olivier Rousteing unveiled his first couture collection for Balmain, and the house’s first couture collection in 16 years, he posed the question: What is couture in 2019?

“Yes,” he acknowledged, “couture remains as exclusive as it has always been—a luxury well beyond the reach of most,” pointing out his collection relies on more than a million Swarovski crystal pearls, stones and beads. However, he also remarked that away from the constraints of setting trends and bowing to commercial needs, couture also allowed him the “luxury of stepping back for a minute” and “revel in a moment of unfettered creativity.”

Thus, mostly eschewing practicality, Rousteing’s collection included many all-white outfits, supersized and asymmetrical silhouettes, bulbous shapes that recalled the vast number of pearls sewn on garments, while bringing a fresh twist to luxury fabrics associated with couture by mixing them with ripped denim.