Balmain's Fall/Winter 2021 collection, the aptly titled "Above & Beyond," takes Olivier Rousteing's creative vision to new levels. The collection itself makes many evolutions while following the thread of youth-inspired fashion with iconic French fashion motifs embedded throughout, as Rousteing demonstrates his curiosity and interest in the concept of flight: plane, jet, or rocket.
As the virtual show begins, models strut in coordination on top of an AirFrance jet, exalting the traditional glamour of a jet-setting Parisian woman: gold jewelry, simple colors palettes, taper trousers, etc. However, moving towards the functional, military-inspired garments appear throughout the collection as flight suits à la Top Gun takes the stage. Reconceptualized versions of these once-utilitarian uniforms now come complete with a corset, platform boots, a duster coat, or strappy accouterments.
In a sharp turn, the collection moves towards a more futuristic style. Neon oranges and yellows accent army green and silver pieces. As the backdrop changes to a zoomed-in moon, there's a shift in mood. Sharper silhouettes exercise a more formalized tone. Darker-colored garments imbue the show with elements of '80s fashion as vinyl jumpsuits caricaturize the traditional white spacesuits.
Throughout the show, flashy accessories compete for attention with the collection's line of luxe ensembles. In tandem with the theme of travel and flying, multiple briefcases and other luggage items are included within the collection. Phone-holding necklaces prioritize functionality and technology, while bright, oversized sunglasses celebrate the frivolity of travel.