The house of Balmain is in new hands, but fans of Christophe Decarnin’s moto-roué look won’t be disappointed by the first collection from his former assistant Olivier Rousteing. Whether Rousteing stages a farther departure from his boss’ example in women’s remains to be seen, but for menswear, he hewed close. Trim tux jackets (slightly longer than usual), paneled biker jeans, and leather jackets will always have a place here. New this season is a range of pieces in pastel: tees, scarves, and even those biker jeans now come in ice cream colors (lemon, mint, and orange), mottled to look sun-bleached. Also new: swimwear, printed denim (in an abstract feather pattern that will also figure in the women’s Resort collection), and a boxy new jacket shape, shorter and shorn of its lapels.
But all in all, this was a continuation, not a break. Maybe you could see the student stepping away from the teacher in the way he snipped off sleeves from jackets (tuxedo and denim), open-weave knits, and polos. Then again, maybe that’s just a summertime concession; even the cool Balmain homme can get hot. The luxe, at least, remained ever apparent; a motorcycle vest in full python saw to that. So did a shawl-collared jacket in croc, for the man who has everything but his own game preserve.