Spring 2010 Preview: One Week & Nine Fashion Shows in Paris

Diary of a lifelong, wanna-be fashionista’s first Paris Fashion Week, by Victoria Yeager Sawyer

BALMAIN at The Grand Hotel, 9th Arrondissement, Thursday, October 1, 2009:

Summed up in one word:  Wow!  The venue is a lovely, gilded palatial ballroom, energetic rock music permeates the space and dozens of lanky, sexy models dressed in large-shouldered blazers, skinny pants and micro-mini dresses strut along a U-shaped runway.  Rihanna is here, in the front row, drawing almost as much attention from the photographers as the fashion show itself. 

From a pure fashion perspective, Balmain will end up being my favorite collection.  Designer Christophe Decarnin has used sequins, leather, chain-mail, strategically placed tears in faded T-shirts and slim cargo-style pants and jeans, camouflage sweaters and corsetted micro-mini dresses to create an unexpected, but utterly genius, collection that I can only describe as Studio 54 meets army base.  The clothes are paired with high-heeled leather ankle boots and thick-strapped sandals.   

The big question on my mind before the Balmain show was whether last season’s exaggerated-shoulder blazer would still be “in.”  The answer was yes, but with a fun twist – as an epauletted tailcoat.  All in all, I loved the Balmain color palette – predominantly metallic, olive and black shades – and the military-inspired detail that even consisted of bullets arranged in a floral design on the belts. 

After the show, I chatted with Ken Downing for a few minutes who, rather thought-provokingly, noted that using bullets to decorate belts is not only a novel and interesting concept, but was also “such a better use of bullets.”