Journey is on the thoughts for Olivier Rousteing. To be fair, that’s true for many of us who are longing for a change of scenery after a year in lockdown (and are waiting for the moment it’s safe to embark on an adventure). Still, in the case of Balmain’s Fall 2021 collection — which debuted on Monday during Paris Fashion Week — that idea served as a starting point not only for the clothes, but also for the way they were presented.
Balmain staged its autumnal debut on Air France’s airplane hangar, with models stepping out of a plane and walking out onto its wings, as opposed to a traditional runway. The Fall 2021 collection is rife with pieces that would easily fit into a world traveler’s wardrobe: versatile parkas and long trenches; flatform boots for easy walking; skinny-fit pants styled with oversized sweats for chilly flights (but done the Balmain way — i.e. embellished with crystals); and roomy handbags and trunk backpacks to carry onto your flight. Additional accessories included much less practical but thematic paper airplane-inspired clutches, compass crossbodies and even a neck pillow; and big square sunglasses, to make you feel like a celebrity at the arrivals terminal. Green is a big color this season, with a darker olive and an electric lime featuring greatly across the line. Plus, the brand’s Labyrinth print makes an appearance on both apparel and accessories.
Like with most of his collections, Rousteing ties it back to Pierre Balmain, the founder of the house: In the accompanying show notes, the designer explained how, after Balmain staged his debut haute couture presentation, he traveled across the U.S., then to London before eventually heading to Australia. “Now, post-2020, it’s a whole lot easier for us to appreciate just how exciting those trips must have been for Pierre Balmain,” Rousteing wrote. “After the anxious years of war and occupation, he was suddenly being offered the long-denied possibility of escaping to destinations that he had been dreaming about for years — and it must have felt incredible.”
Balmain’s Fall 2021 collection, he continued, is meant “to channel that amazing sensation of freedom.” As such, many of the looks draw from the uniforms of pilots (hence all the green, but also metallic silver, bright orange and rich reds, whites and navies) and even astronauts — because it seems Rousteing and Balmain have their sights set beyond international travel.
At the top of the video, which was created by Valentin Petit, Rousteing walks up to a keyboard that lights up a series of screens assembled against a lunar landscape, which then play the collection film. After the scenes in the airplane hangar, the backdrop changes, and the models make their way down an illuminated runway in outer space.
“I insisted on pushing the envelope a bit for our Fall 2021 video — because today, as we move forward, we need to always dream big, remain optimistic and consider all possibilities,” Rousteing noted. “So, the moon forms not just a beautiful backdrop for this video, but also a promise — as Balmain looks ahead to the house’s future lunar runways.”
See every single look from Balmain’s Fall 2021 collection in the gallery, below.