This would have been so incredible to see drift past you, especially if you didn’t know it was happening: Olivier Rousteing got a boat, packed it with 44 models, dressed them in classic and contemporary Balmain designs, and set sail. He told Vogue:
“From the beginning of the lockdown in Paris, I wanted to do something when it was over to celebrate fashion and the fact that we feel kind of free in Paris now after two and half months in lockdown.” […]
During the lockdown, the designer began to draw parallels between Balmain’s history and the experiences surrounding the pandemic. Pierre Balmain founded his fashion house in 1945 amid the destruction of World War II. His “Jolie Madame” silhouette became a symbol of hope and restoration alongside Christian Dior’s “New Look”, and would go down in fashion history as a moment of optimism, epitomising the fighting spirit of the haute couture industry. “We’re not going through a war,” Rousteing acknowledged, “but we are going through a pandemic. Fashion is in a tough moment. I don’t think the answer to it is to not do anything, it’s actually to try to respect the world we now live in and give some hope.”
He said they set out to ensure a two-meter distance between models, though it’s hard to tell from a distance if they were able to keep to that (besides which, he had to get up close to futz with some of the outfits, but I don’t know the mask guidelines in Paris — I recognize we are in a bigger pickle here than they are). And he broadcast the entire thing on… TikTok, a platform for which I am too old and crusty. Luckily, the long lenses of the photographers caught snippets of it, and nabbed some very lovely piano pictures in the process.