Balmain races to recover from robbery at Paris Fashion Week

27 Sep 2023 04:32pm
French fashion designer Olivier Rousteing greets spectators after presenting Balmain Womens wear Fall-Winter 2023-2024 collection during Paris Fashion Week - AFP
French fashion designer Olivier Rousteing greets spectators after presenting Balmain Womens wear Fall-Winter 2023-2024 collection during Paris Fashion Week - AFP

PARIS, FRANCE - The fashion world loves drama but normally it does not involve violent robberies, so there is outsize attention on Wednesday's Balmain show after the French label had 50 outfits stolen just days earlier.

Balmain's creative director Olivier Rousteing announced on September 17 that a driver had been "hijacked" on the way from a Paris airport to the house's headquarters by a gang of thieves who stole 50 outfits.

He and his team have since been racing to put together a collection for the show on Wednesday night.

There were no signs of panic from Rousteing on Tuesday when he posted a video from his workshop showing the finishing touches being put to a dress that looked like a pink garden trestle with blue flowers climbing over it.

He added the apparently ironic comment: "Florals for spring? Groundbreaking..." Paris Fashion Week kicked off on Monday and runs to October 3, with 107 brands in the official lineup.

Pierre Cardin, which returned this year for the first time in a quarter-century, was full of retro space-age outfits that harked back to its glory days.

But the relatives of Cardin, who died in 2020, are tearing each other apart in court over the inheritance.

"If the brand is sold, it will be the end of the house. I am confident the court decisions will ensure continuity," current boss Rodrigo Basilicati-Cardin said backstage.

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An even more exuberantly surreal display came courtesy of Germanier, with spectacularly colourful, feathered creations.

On Tuesday, two big names offered contrasting versions of feminism -- always a good selling-point at fashion week -- with Christian Dior mocking sexist stereotypes while Saint Laurent was inspired by female pioneers.

- Dior, Saint Laurent - Dior designer Maria Grazia Chiuri, who recently dressed Queen Camilla for her state dinner at Versailles, offered a largely monochrome affair with comfortable, breezy items alongside straight masculine jackets, pleated skirts and plenty of knitwear.

But the walls were bright pink and yellow, and plastered in mock sexist slogans from old adverts, such as "Save your marriage -- iron properly".

Saint Laurent held a typically opulent nighttime show under the Eiffel Tower with safari-style jumpsuits and cargo trousers, inspired, according to creative director Anthony Vaccarello, by aviation pioneers Amelia Earhart and Adrienne Bolland.

In a palette of burnished gold, ochre and maroon, there was plenty of 1980s glamour with big shoulders, tightly belted waists and aviator shades -- even adding the Top Gun theme song "Take My Breath Away" to the soundtrack.

Coming later this week are final shows for two big-name designers.

Gabriela Hearst is leaving Chloe after fewer than three years. Her focus on sustainable fashion was critically acclaimed but did not bring a major boost to sales.

It will also be the last show for Sarah Burton, who took over at Alexander McQueen following the founder's suicide in 2010 - AFP

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