Don’t call it a fashion show, it was so much more. To celebrate his decade at Balmain, Olivier Rousteing put on a fashion festival, featuring Jesse Jo Stark, Doja Cat and a stadium-scale catwalk show. The fashion press came but so did 6000 Balmain fans, their ticket price raising money for the AIDS charity (RED).

Rousteing always was a change maker. Democratising the catwalk is only one of his achievements. As Beyoncé said in a recorded message at the start of the event, many in the industry, “had a hard time imagining someone who looked like [him] could lead up a Parisian couture house.” A stellar decade, which put diversity, celebrity, the power of social media and statement making silhouettes front and centre proved his star quality.

When Rousteing took over Balmain at the age of 25, they called him the “Balmain Baby”. Now he says, “Balmain is my baby.” And how she’s grown. Jesse Jo Stark kicked things off, performing in a sequin monochrome mini and white boots. Then the models came out. “It’s all about freedom,” said Rousteing of his second skin cut away catsuits, leggings and bra tops. The collection blinged with supersized chain-links fashioned into mini dresses and halter tops, and party dresses dripping in gold threads. As if that wasn’t celebratory enough, the ready-to-wear section was followed by an epic archival finale, led by Naomi Campbell and an allstar cast of legendary supermodels. Each woman was cheered to the rafters by the audience.

“We’ve decided to celebrate those ten years of nonstop challenges, creations and changes with a re-edition of a handful of my favorite looks,” said Rousteing, which he described as “milestones of the journey that brought me to where we are now, in 2021.” What a trip. What a show.

Photography courtesy of Balmain.

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