Fashion house BALMAIN presented their Fall Winter 2022.23 Collection, that explores the dark side of digital life, on March 2nd, during the recently finished Paris Fashion Week. The collection mixes the brand’s earliest codes with protective gear to highlight the strength of vulnerability. Designer Olivier Rousteing was inspired by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry quote (from “The Little Prince“) – “It is much more difficult to judge yourself than to judge others. If you succeed in judging yourself correctly, then you are truly a wise person.” He also explores the liberating feeling of truth and transparency.
Much of my recent unhealthy obsession with hiding any signs of changes, discoloration and scarring as I healed from burns that I suffered last year can be directly traced to the fears that I had of exposing myself to the poisonous power of anonymous posters’ scornful judgements. But ultimately, that experience helped pushed me to realize that the only possible response to the incredible shaming potential of social media is to face it head on—addressing it with honesty and clarity, while drawing courage from the support and love of others. That was a breakthrough moment for me, a radical change of behavior that I can only describe as being truly liberating.
That experience explains why so many pale colors — whites, creams, light pastels, soft denims—are so prominent on today’s runway. In the Balmain universe, these are not the tones of sweetness and vulnerability—no, instead they remind us that there is a special type of affirmative clout that comes with truth and transparency. That surprising freeing power also explains the unlikely pairings of lace and other seemingly light and fragile fabrics with metal and neoprene. The collection’s distinctive silhouettes riff on safety – playing with powerfully protective wraps, shields and gilets. These unique combinations — light and delicate touches mixed with symbols of security and strength — reflect recent lessons learned: we need not be defenseless in the face of toxic pile-ons, if we can depend on individual honesty, collective empathy and shared hopes for progress. – Olivier Rousteing