Paris Fashion Stories, Episode 6: Paradoxes


Ready-to-wear, autumn-winter 2019/2020. The young creative director of the Balmain fashion house, Olivier Rousteing, has named his next collection for Autumn/Winter 2019/2020 "Paradox". And this edition of Paris Fashion Stories also deals in paradox, contrasting the shows of two designers whose work couldn't be more different. And yet both collections are brought together by their use of black, a staple of the fashion world since time immemorial.


33-year-old Rousteing, beloved by rappers and TV reality stars alike, has embraced the sartorial codes of the 70s and 80s – think leather, spikes and miniskirts. It is, as ever, a sexy look. For Rousteing, women are fragile and need armour – the leather and metal have the ability to transform them into modern-day heroines.

For Tokyo designer Yohji Yamamoto, meanwhile, black is also the order of the day, with flashes of grey and white also making an appearance. The 75-year-old rejects all forms of vulgarity, keeping his choices measured and tongue-in-cheek. There’s the pair of black gloves, with the middle finger defiantly pointed skywards. A little rebuke to the fashion world he has some contempt for.

For his collection's finale, Rousteing places himself at the centre of a group of Balmain girls, all clad in PVC. Yamamoto meanwhile chose to end his show with five models, walking very slowly. Veiled, they were presented as "women of the desert". At one point one drops her hood and appears radiant. For the Iranian-Dutch singer Sevda Alizadeh, it's proof that "everything can be sexy".

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