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Balmain

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One of the most talked-about fashion brands, Balmain has been at the cutting edge of fashion since the brand rose to prominence after the Second World War, when the feminine styles of the Jolie Madame line offered an antidote to the utilitarian fashions of the day and were favoured by stars such as Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe. The founder, Pierre Balmain, known as the “king of French fashion” in the post-war period, died in 1982, but his artistic vision was carried forward by distinguished creative directors such as Oscar de la Renta and Laurent Mercier. Since 2011, the label has been under the direction of Instagram favourite Olivier Rousteing and, breaking with traditional marketing techniques in favour of social media, has become an international fashion phenomenon.

Rousteing’s clothes incorporate the label’s traditional tailoring and attention to detail with designs that reflect the way people want to dress today. Luxurious fabrics, elaborate hand-finished detailing such as the brand’s iconic polished gold buttons and ultra-modern silhouettes bring a contemporary, urban edginess to this historic couture brand. Men’s designs are characterised by exquisite tailoring and lavish details and given a modern edge with grunge and streetwear influences while the women’s collection features nipped-in, corseted waists and dramatic shoulders that emphasise feminine curves.

Balmain always offers covetable jackets, from sleek leather designs to sharply tailored double- breasted blazers and is also renowned for its streetwear influenced hoodies and quilted bomber jackets. From the casual urbanity of Balmain jeans to the decadent glamour of a Balmain dress, this label has all the supercharged style to give a new resonance to power dressing. Expect wide shoulders, high waists and a hip-hop attitude: the Balmain women collection has plenty of celebrity endorsement from A-listers including Rihanna, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Kim Kardashian.