Paris Fashion Week, Spring 2009: Balmain

In one more season it may seem formulaic, but for now, Balmain is rocking the runway. With a raw mix of jacket and pant combos, bandage dresses, and slashed gowns, this collection is party and afterparty ready. Remember Balmain's sultry Fall season? With its highly coveted (and already worn by Carine Roitfeld and daughter) party dresses and wild cut-outs? They're back, and they're better than ever. But Christophe Decarnin is not just exposed skin and energetic frills — he took his stab at the sharp shoulder. It's too conical for my taste, but it makes for some stunning jackets.
The standouts are the acid washed jeans, the itty bitty body-con dresses, and the vibrant, hemline-up-to-there gowns. I do have to point out my disappointment in the shoes — haven't we seen enough studded sandals for one season? And let's face it: No one can top Rodarte's studded Louboutins. They were clearly intended to stun, but the clothes already play that role.

For more rockin' Balmain, read more.