When Balmain copies Mugler…. Real Scandal !

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Paris fashion week has always its part of glory but also its part of scandalous decadence. The scandal came from Balmain SS19 collection. When watching the fashion show, several people got astonished by recognizing several iconic models from Thierry Mugler back in the 70’s, the 80’s and the 90’s. We could have call it inspiration, homage? Well Thierry Mugler, himself, call it copy. Here are the images he shared on this instagram stories:

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It is obvious that by comparing the different models, there was more than a simple inspiration. When Olivier Rousteing was appointed Artistic Director of Balmain in 2011, he was just 25 years old. It was a challenge and a great opportunity for the talented fashion creator for explore the fullness of his talent at the service of one of the most beautiful fashion houses.

Balmain was founded in 1945 by Pierre Balmain. From the outset, Monsieur Balmain’s boldly feminine and opulent signature style offered a startling contrast to the utilitarian looks of the day, creating a distinctive, super-feminine DNA for the house, which relied on richly embroidered fabrics, nipped-in waists and longer, often fuller skirts—and quickly transforming the Parisian house into a favorite of both European and Hollywood royalty.

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Balmain was, along side with Christian Dior, Cristobal Balenciaga and Jacques Fath, the fourth mousqueteer that revitalized fashion post-war. His style was unique and fearless. That is why strong women with personality such as Marlene Dietrich, Katharine Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot, and Sophia Loren wore his designs onscreen and off.

While Olivier Rousteing is respecting a certain idea of volumes and design from the brand heritage, his exploration towards a more modern, maybe more urban audience is not always of good taste. Remember the collaborations with Kim Kardashian and Kayne West? Not sure Pierre Balmain would be delighted with such a cheap imagery. H&M does it better.

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After watching the all SS19 fashion show there are really 3 looks that are really shocking as copies from Mugler past designs:

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Obviously the entire collection has a 70’s/80’s inspiration, especially with the oversized silhouettes. Shoulders and volumes are very generous which is not a bad thing. The line crossed by Olivier Rousteing was to copy Mugler’s designs up to a scandalous level. For the metal bustier some people can say it is a copy others might say it is an inspiration. It was accessorized differently. But the other two designs are openly copies of Mugler designs. At LuxuryActivist, we must say we are pretty much shocked about it. Shame on you Olivier Rousteing.

José Amorim

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José Amorim

José Amorim has been working in the luxury industry for more than 15 years. In the past 8 years, he joined his personal passion for digital culture and his luxury background to develop digital strategies for premium brands. He is the founder of LuxuryActivist.com and is happy to share his passion here.