For his 2013 Pre-Fall collection for Balmain, Olivier Rousteing found inspiration in American Fashion Editor Diana Vreeland and her taste for Chinoiserie, Mao collars, kimono coats and the exotic sparkle of Lurex and used it all to combine Asian opulence with ‘70s exuberance. He kept the fit and overall aesthetic cohesive to his previous collections and oh so, Balmain. "I saw the documentary about Diana Vreeland last October, and after that I looked up the amazingly exotic shoots that she directed. That made me think of Parisian couture houses in the 1970s, and how they referenced Asia in a very European, highly stylized, upbeat way." says Olivier.
Gold-banded Chinese marquetry leather, treated with a wood grain pattern creates a concentric framework for kimono jackets and hourglass dresses featuring ornate Asian mountain beaded embroidery and cinched with wide, obi-like tortoiseshell belts. The collection's marquetry, bamboo leaf patterns and extensive gold piping reflect the ornate geometrics of ‘70s couture fragrance bottles and the era's mahogany furniture design.
Western collars and lapels are discarded in favor of kimono jackets with a square and slightly peaked pagoda shoulder to be worn loose, or cinched. Underneath are loose, patch-pocket shirts and new bias harem pants, in a graphic mix of mismatched black and gold stripes.
Lurex runs throughout this collection in multicolored diamond check silk jacquards for oversized smoking jackets that resemble crinkled tinfoil and slim black knitwear circled with illuminating metallic color stripes. Chinoiserie, dragon scales in quilted satin and embroidered beading cover kimono leather Perfectos and rich silk satin coats, which serve as a powerfully voluminous top layer over slimmer tailoring. Underneath, origami folded stretch silk satin forms harem skirts, cropped mid-thigh to wear with Balmain's new body stocking, which is high-collared with a front covered with the season's Asian embroidery backed by leather.