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Balmain party reels in a Hollywood crowd, including Nicole Richie

May 03, 2013|By Booth Moore, Los Angeles Times Fashion Critic
  • Balmain designer Olivier Rousteing, right, hosts dinner at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles on Thursday. Guests include, from left, models Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Liberty Ross and actress-designer Nicole Richie.
Balmain designer Olivier Rousteing, right, hosts dinner at the Chateau… (Todd Oren )

Paris-based Balmain designer Olivier Rousteing touched down in L.A. this week and hosted a dinner at the Chateau Marmont on Thursday night to get better acquainted with Hollywood.

Rousteing, just 26 years old, has been creative director of the French fashion house since 2011, when he took over from Christophe Decarnin, the designer who reinvented Balmain for a new generation with super-expensive, 1980s-throwback, hyper-embellished jackets and jeans that attracted a legion of celebrity fans, including Michael Jackson. 

Rousteing has been trying to keep the momentum going. And over the past few months there’s been evidence that the buzz may be growing anew. Back in March, Balmain hosted Cher and Fergie at the "rock the casbah"-esque fall 2013 runway show in Paris, and Zoe Saldana wore a fall 2013 runway look on the red carpet at the premiere of “Star Trek Into Darkness” in Berlin.  

On Thursday night, models Liberty Ross and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley came decked out in super-short skirts and dresses courtesy of Balmain, as did Nicole Richie. “I’m wearing a basket,” Richie joked of her dress, which did have an intricate basket-weave design, highlighting the incredible workmanship that goes into Rousteing’s creations.

It was Rousteing's first time visiting L.A. and he seemed to be enjoying himself, hanging out everywhere from Venice Beach to Bel Air. "The mix of generations, attitudes and nationalities is amazing," he said. "And everyone is so positive." 

Also at the dinner were designers Aurelie Bidermann, Andrea Lieberman and John Eshaya, stylists Tara Swennen, George Kostiopoulis, Lawren Howell and Estee Stanley.

There was lots of chit-chat about the upcoming Costume Institute ball and “Punk Chaos to Couture” exhibition opening in New York on Monday night, which is considered by some to be the fashion industry's equivalent to Oscar night. Everyone was wondering what on earth the fashion flock was going to be wearing on the red carpet. After all, Vogue Editor in Chief Anna Wintour, who is co-chair of the event, is not exactly known for being punk or subversive.

Stanley, who is dressing Jessica Biel for the event, isn't expecting the dresses to be too crazy, but predicts it will be a big night for over-the-top hair, makeup and jewelry, particularly jewelry by L.A. designer Tom Binns, who is known for his punk-ladylike aesthetic. "It's going to be a big night for him," she laughed. "His night, really."


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