The Balmain show was everything you’ve come to expect from Balmain: Natalia, Anja, Carmen as rocker chicks, sizzling in fitted metallic jackets, micro-skirts, skinny pants, and heaps of sparkly, mirrored embroidery matching the gilded ballroom of the Grand Hotel.

The validity of pretty girls in sexy clothes is a moot point. It always works, at least with men, especially when those clothes are given a dose of men’s tailoring. So it was a natural choice this season for the house to work with stylist Melanie Ward (replacing French Vogue’s Emmanuelle Alt), iconic for turning up the unisex appeal of Helmut Lang’s shows in the 1990s. At Balmain, it’s a recipe for coyish, provocative androgyny. Indeed, an androgynous glam-rock vibe ran throughout, in the glittering jumpsuits worn with high-heeled boots, accompanied by a soundtrack of David Bowie’s stirring Lady Grinning Soul, and asymmetrical, belly-revealing tank tops—both new looks for Balmain.

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