Clever Couture: Balmain from catwalk to high street
When Balmainia hit in 2008 everyone was talking about the label's designer, Christophe Decarnin, who created the perfect look for rock royalty.
New Balmain was about sex, opulence and turning heads with thigh-high metallic minis, slashed-to-the-hip dresses, power shoulders and statement jeans.
Two years on and the critics are sniping that Decarnin is stuck in a design rut. But you could also argue he's found his signature style, and when it rocks as hard as the current collection why fix it?
You never heard anyone complaining about YSL repeating his Le Smoking tuxedos! This winter, Balmain went Baroque 'n Roll with frock coats, brocade, embellishment and power-shouldered furs.
It was part '60s Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull hanging out with Desmond Guinness in Castletown House and part Versailles renegade -- in other words, pure, over-the-top fabulousness that cocked a snook at all the minimalism doing the rounds this season.