Everything you want to know about Balmain's fall 2014 show, which walked on Thursday, you can pretty much get just by looking at Rihanna. Designer Olivier Rousteing has made no secret of how much he loves the pop star -- who is currently the face of the brand -- calling her an "icon" and citing her as a major inspiration. While, sure, he may have had other things in mind when creating these clothes, but we could definitely see her in them (although less of them, as everything was pretty covered up), both literally and figuratively.
RiRi, who showed up after the show (I know, I was trapped inside the private driveway after two Mercedes Benz vans pulled in and the doors were shut behind them, while a crush of kids and paparazzi waited outside), manages to pull off an intriguing eau de sex, tomboyishness and gold-dipped flash. And it's basically this combo that walked the runway to 50 Cent's (feat Justin Timberlake!) "She Wants It."
Much like Rousteing's pre-fall collection, the theme here read heavily as safari. There was a lot of olive, plenty of front-pocketed utilitarian jackets and cargo pants, and a healthy dose of leopard and zebra. Of course, this being Balmain, those seemingly J. Peterman pieces were elevated into high-fashion land via luxe leathers, sumptuous silks and gold chain inlays. The silhouettes alternated between slinky and mannish: waist-accentuating fit-and-flair tops and dresses -- along with body-hugging skirts, -- played well with oversized, slouchy leather jackets and loose jumpsuits.
The "wow" pieces were the intricately woven rope dresses -- one in a stunning jade, the other in sunny yellow -- which had a tribal feeling (the latter's gold beading tilted that scale even more heavily). Actually, one could argue that the showstoppers were those huge gold bamboo hoop earrings on all the models, which really put a cap on the whole safari street thing. They were cool, ostentatious and hot -- pretty much Rihanna, and this collection, in a nutshell.