Russian gems bring the glamour back at Balmain

THOMAS ADAMSON Associated Press Published:

PARIS (AP) -- Olivier Rousteing, on his tremendous sophomore outing at Balmain's fall-winter ready-to-wear show on Thursday, took the label back to its couture roots with a dash of Russian imperial glamour.

The collection's muse, the blue and gold Faberge egg that Richard Burton gave to Elizabeth Taylor, set the tone of the highly structured clothes that dripped with jewels.

Gems and pearls adorned hourglass silhouettes, harking back to a time of imperial wealth. Long orthodox vestments in black and sumptuous velvets consolidated a fall trend for the covered-up and ecclesiastical.

Le Grand Hotel Paris venue further transported spectators back in time to the glittering days of 18th century salons.

But 26-year-old Rousteing was not just about gemstones, and looked forward not back.

Since he was catapulted to the label's head a year ago, he's been trying to turn the page on what some have described as the house's "trash factor." Thursday's show managed to achieve this, without losing any of the red-carpet glamour that re-popularized the house under Christophe Decarnin.

Rousteing revisited the house's signature jacket, making it oversized and sharpening it into an ornament.

Pants were relaxed to give the silhouette a more fluid look, and boyish cropped pants were paired with a perfecto jacket and vest.

The lion's share of the bejeweled pieces might not have been made in spirit of ready to wear, but they provide a strong direction for the iconic house's future.