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Life & Style

Balmain races to recover from robbery at Paris Fashion Week

Published September 27, 2023
Models present creations for Christian Dior during a show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2024 in Paris on September 26, 2023. Photo: AFP
Models present creations for Christian Dior during a show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2024 in Paris on September 26, 2023. Photo: AFP

PARIS: The fashion world loves drama but normally it does not involve violent robberies, so there is outsize attention on Wednesday’s Balmain show after the French label had 50 outfits stolen just days earlier.

Balmain’s creative director Olivier Rousteing announced on September 17 that a driver had been “hijacked” on the way from a Paris airport to the house’s headquarters by a gang of thieves who stole 50 outfits.

He and his team have since been racing to put together a collection for the show on Wednesday night.

Paris Fashion Week starts after Balmain robbery

There were no signs of panic from Rousteing on Tuesday when he posted a video from his workshop showing the finishing touches being put to a dress that looked like a pink garden trestle with blue flowers climbing over it.

He added the apparently ironic comment: “Florals for spring? Groundbreaking…”

Paris Fashion Week kicked off on Monday and runs to October 3, with 107 brands presenting, of which 67 are giving runway shows.

One of the first big names was Pierre Cardin, which has returned to the official Paris lineup this year for the first time in a quarter-century.

Its show was full of retro space-age outfits that harked back to its glory days, but the relatives of Cardin, who died in 2020, are currently tearing each other apart in court over the inheritance.

“My uncle gave me the mission to perpetuate the house and its style,” Rodrigo Basilicati-Cardin, who is currently overseeing the label, said backstage.

“If the brand is sold, it will be the end of the house. I am confident the court decisions will ensure continuity,” he added.

Among the other highlights so far was the latest collection from Dior on Tuesday, which saw the walls of the show plastered with mock sexist slogans from old adverts, such as “Save your marriage – iron properly”.

The collection by Maria Grazia Chiuri, who recently dressed Queen Camilla for her state dinner at Versailles, was a largely monochrome affair with comfortable, breezy items alongside straight masculine jackets, pleated skirts and plenty of knitwear.

Paris Fashion Week promises drama and departures

Coming later this week are final shows for two big-name designers.

Gabriela Hearst is leaving Chloe after fewer than three years. Her focus on sustainable fashion was critically acclaimed but did not bring a major boost to sales.

It will also be the last show for Sarah Burton, who took over at Alexander McQueen following the founder’s suicide in 2010.

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