Melbourne, Melbourne Fashion Festival Cultural Program 2015

Fashion on Film: The Balmain Style, Melbourne Fashion Festival Cultural Program 2015

0 Comments 14 March 2015

A crowd of young and old (mostly women), shopping bags in tow, crammed into the cosy theatres of ACMI last week to watch Loic Prignent’s The Balmain Style, screening as a part of Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival’s Cultural Program. There are countless fashion documentaries that seem to take their subjects just a little too seriously, but The Balmain Style is rare, casual and unexpectedly funny look at the office of the French fashion house Balmain.

Littered with cameos from Rihanna, Rosie Huntington Whitley and Joan Smalls, the film is a charming profile of head designer Olivier Rousteing, following him as he creates the Autumn/Winter 2014 collection for Paris Fashion Week. Overall, the film’s most memorable trait is its characters. Rousteing is extremely charismatic, his emotions endearing and obvious throughout the whole film. From his enthusiasm in designing and creating the collection to his gratitude for his staff to his nervousness before the show and his elation at its finish, his personality strengthens the film from beginning to end.

His small team of employees are also extremely entertaining. Close knit, many have worked together for over seventeen years and are bound by late nights and impossible deadlines. After weeks of stressful sewing they laugh together as they sneak drinks of alcoholic punch from underneath their desks. Just as charming is a team of tireless, unbelievably dedicated interns. The absurdity of the work nearly justify Balmain’s price tags as they spend days happily colouring in an entire dress fashioned from rope with hundreds of yellow permanent markers. This is a dress that “we will only sell about thirty to fifty of”, for twenty-thousand euros each, of course. One has also developed tendonitis from hand sewing leather.

If you’ve ever spent time in a fashion office The Balmain Style will surely strike a chord. Prignent’s abruptly casual narration is completely unpretentious, unexpectedly making affectionate light of an industry that is often taken much too seriously. The film perfectly dictates the descent into madness a fashion office undergoes prior to fashion week. If you’ve never spent time in a fashion office, there’s still enough story, character, history and quirk to keep it interesting and entertaining the whole way through. The Balmain Style cannot be faulted.

The Balmain Style played as part of the VAMFF’s Cultural Program 2015.

Image source: Broadsheet

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