For Balmain’s Spring Summer 2024 collection, creative director Olivier Rousteing took inspiration from archival design sketches. Motivated to write a love letter to the brand’s founder, Rousteing found musing in Pierre Balmain’s love for roses, which he translated into a boldly feminine collection. In addition to the floral inspiration, Rousteing also referenced retro elements from the 40s and 50s such as dot prints, sweetheart necklines, bustier tops, and high waists.

A Garden of Roses

To open up the show, models walked down the runway in classic Balmain pieces — strong and classically opulent dresses with sharp lines. After the opening segment (where black, white and gold predominated), the show took a colorful turn with bright-coloured blazers and pleated bell-hem skirts. This pleating technique was then applied to items such as an off-the-shoulder dress that moved beautifully in motion and a sapphire blue skirt paired with a thorny metal frame top adorned with red roses. Different iterations of looks enhanced with 3D roses appeared on the runway, including a red vinyl coat with big, bunched-up roses.

In the show notes, Rousteing wrote, “It’s clear that it’s the spirit of the rose — the joy, beauty and love associated with that flower — that’s driving this collection. Because we all could use a whole lot more joy, beauty and love today. Love is complex — every rose, after all, comes with its thorns.”

Photos courtesy of Balmain

Chic Dressing with a Retro Spin

Following the explosion of florals, Rousteing took audiences back in time with retro-style polka dots. Still in the flower theme, the next series of looks introduced a floral print made out of scaled-up photographs of roses in red and black. In this segment, Rousteing created a timelessly classy feel through curve-hugging waistlines juxtaposed with voluminous skirts, as well as Bardot and sweetheart necklines. The house also revealed a large floral print consisting of a sky blue background adorned with soft pink and golden yellow flowers. Applied onto coats and dresses, the oversized print was picturesque and resembled a painting.

A Showcase of Construction

In the last segment, the designer pulled out all the stops to showcase the house’s craftsmanship. The best of Balmain’s embroidery, tailoring, and construction paraded down the runway. Among the highlights were a green bodysuit with floral embroidery, an off-the-shoulder embellished dress with an asymmetric slice of polka dots, and a trapezium dress embroidered with a macro guipure flower — a beautiful work of construction reminiscent of the crinoline structure. The standout was a silver minidress with tiny metal plates layered atop the base and adorned with flower appliques, gems, and sequins. 

K-pop and Pop Royalty

Powered by star-filled front rows, every Balmain show is a highly anticipated affair. Lending his star power to the event, K-pop idol Hongjoong, a member of the group ATEEZ, made his awaited return to Paris — he previously graced the Balmain Homme FW23 show in March. The singer sported flared trousers and a red blazer with contrasting lapels and fringe detailing from the house’s Resort 24 collection. This Western-inspired look was accessorized with a beret and a patent leather B-Buzzy Dynasty bag, offering a bold and fun take on Balmain staples.

Another K-pop star in attendance was Xu Minghao, better known as THE8, a member of the K-pop group SEVENTEEN. In his Paris Fashion Week debut, the singer made a grand statement with his get-up. THE8 donned a fringed cropped tweed blazer, matched with a sheer undershirt and flared pants from Balmain’s Resort 24 collection. Fitted for the occasion, the ensemble was an eccentric yet elegant update on power dressing.

A regular at every Balmain event, “Goddess of Pop,” Cher also graced the front row. She opted for a head-to-toe Blamain look consisting of a cropped white jacket with black embellishments, and black pants layered with an embellished white wrap. Dove Cameron, Taylor Hill and Lucy Hale were spotted in the VIP crowd too. All of them sported stunning Balmain looks. 

As compared to previous seasons, Olivier Rousteing showcased a bolder and more colorful side of Balmain. In a much-needed breath of fresh air, the galore of prints, colors, and embellishments offered a counterpart to the “quiet luxury” trend that dominated fashion in the first half of 2023. Charming and lush, Balmain’s SS24 collection was a display of the house’s impeccable savoir-faire and ability to experiment with construction and craftsmanship techniques. 

Interested in more fashion content? Check out the star-studded front row at Dior’s SS24 presentation here.