Question: what do Kate Moss, Rihanna, Diane Kruger, and every amazing European magazine editor have in common? A seriously deep-seated love for the latest Balmain looks. These women have backed the famous French fashion house for many seasons, wearing everything from last fall's fringe booties to spring's acid-washed skinnies to this fall's strong-shoulder pieces with a devotion that borders on the fanatical. But one look at the current collection and we understand why these directional dressers adore anything Christophe Decarnin designs: his clothes offer a greatly appealing mix of gritty attitude and unapologetically sexy glamour.
Even if you're not a front-row regular or a paparazzi target, there are still ways to incorporate the high-impact Balmain look into your everyday wardrobe. Let's begin with the collection's color palette, shall we? With the exception of an occasional pop of bright cobalt blue, the entire line was cut in a few stark shades, specifically black, white, and gray. Of course, though colors were limited, we noticed that dramatic touches were in full force-specifically sequins! Body-conscious frocks were given the sparkle treatment; just take a look at the Paillette Mini Dress ($13,395) for reference! But for every hiked-up hemline, Decarnin supplied a tough, toned-down alternative, via pieces like Buckle-Embellished Boots ($1605) and Biker Jeans ($1940). Even accessories got the industrial treatment (albeit in a luxe way), as Decarnin supplemented many looks with high-end biker accents like the Double Chain Belt ($1150) and Triple Chain Belt ($950). Basically the collection has a fabulous eighties-supermodel-meets-motorcycle-gang vibe, which is remarkably easy to achieve at home-with a little help from us, of course! If you're ready to play dress-up, just read on for a few of our favorite Inspired By pieces!
1. French Connection Lust Dress ($288)
The long-sleeve mini dress is a fall fashion must-buy, so why not go for it with gusto? If you're ready to brave the Balmain look, don't miss this amazing marine blue sequin dress from French Connection. It's the perfect piece to wear to all of your upcoming holiday parties or it could be the saucy centerpiece for a girls'-night-out ensemble. To ensure you don't look like an eighties lounge singer, we suggest pairing the glizy frock with some slightly punk footwear, like buckle-embellished boots or studded pumps.
2. Bakers Buckley Boots ($170)
Whether they're in leather or suede, Giuseppe Zanotti for Balmain's Buckle Boots ($1605) are strikingly cool. They're also an extravagant splurge, so when creating this Inspired By story, we knew it was imperative to find a suitable substitute. Enter Bakers' Buckley Boots: a super-affordable style with all the attitude of the runway version! They'll look amazing with a bandage skirt and tucked-in tee or simply worn with your favorite pair of skinny jeans.
3. H&M Shirt ($25)
One of the most intriguing looks from Balmain's recent show involved a pair of split leg harem pants and a black t-shirt with silver sequins. While you might be a touch wary of wearing the head-to-toe look, it's easy to incorporate the interesting tee into many different outfits. H&M happened to create a stylishly similar shirt for fall, which we would wear under a boyfriend blazer or paired with some slouchy trousers (sans slits, of course).
4. Current/Elliott Moto Skinny Jeans ($235)
Decarnin always creates the most amazing denim pieces and definitely knows how to start a jean craze (such as the bleached-out and thrashed trend). So when he sent out a slew of motorcycle jeans at Balmain's F/W 09 show, we couldn't help but notice. While tastemakers like Vanessa Traina adore the originals, personally, we will invest in a pair of Current/Elliott's Moto Skinny Jeans instead. Like everything else from Current/Elliott, these jeans are beyond darling, fit like a dream, and are totally on-trend.
5. HTC Electric Multi-Chain Belt ($240)
As we mentioned earlier, one of the must-buy accessories for the Balmain look is a chain belt. While the uber-expensive designer options are certainly desirable, we like this heavy-metal style from HTC. It has multiple chains mixed with sturdy leather, a very appropriate combo for today's topic! Throw it on with an elegant pair of pants or just add it to your casual jeans, either way, it's an awesome item to have on hand!
6. Zara Black Studded Pumps ($80)
Though Balmain's killer buckle boots are hogging the majority of the footwear press, we must point out that they're not the only shoe-style worth noting. The house also created Diamante Studded Pumps ($775) that are obviously more interesting than your average pair of heels! While they're cool, we actually heart a studded style we found at Zara just as much. They'll perfectly punctuate your outfits all autumn long and we have a feeling you'll appreciate their very affordable price...
7. Dannijo Sparo Cuff ($538)
While Decarnin didn't use much jewelry in his fall runway presentation, we couldn't resist including this beautiful cuff in our roundup. It's a got a hint o' vintage thanks to the rhinestone pattern, but the silver-chain element gives it some necessary edge, which means it fits in with the rest of our Inspired By story fantastically.
8. Topshop Embellished Biker Jacket ($310)
The sculpted shoulders of a Balmain jacket are eye-catching and highly desirable, but not everyone wants to wear such an identifiable piece. To achieve a subtler silhouette while still executing the collection's spirit, we suggest picking up Topshop's Embellished Biker Jacket. The shoulders are strong, but less exaggerated than the runway style, so we think it's much more wearable.
9. Club Monaco Jen Beaded Clutch ($80)
Last, but certainly not least, we have a beautifully beaded bag from Club Monaco. Though it's patently different from the Crystal Leopard Suede Shoulder Bag ($3590) that was carried on the runway, we think its pewter-gray color, slight shimmer, and squared-off lines would totally fit in with the collection. It's a great antidote to the typical basic black bag; we'd wear it with a tuxedo jacket, a slim pair of cigarette pants, and dance off into the night!