#771 Ash Stymest in Balmain Homme – not a shoulder pad in sight

All Images /The Fashionisto

Back in March I blogged about Balmain’s first menswear collection and how much the Clement Chabernaud campaign reminded me of Tom Cruise in Top Gun (which I watched two weekends ago – still amazing). The full collection has just been shot in an Ash Stymest editorial for Japanese magazine HUgE. It’s a very typical Stymest shoot – black and white, angsty, grungy, cigarette in hand, but I’ve gotta hand it to the guy, he can move in front of the camera. It’s quite a small collection, but the whole thing looks to be a darker, more street/airforce (?) version of what Hedi Slimane was doing at Dior Homme back in 2006/2007. (I also thought the women’s Balmain Fall 09/10 collection was inspired by Dior Homme.) Any thoughts? Rufus? John? Simon?

All the shots below.

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  1. says

    I reckon it’s heaps good. Hedi’s fingerprints are all over it though. The model looks like one of the kids Hedi would shoot http://www.dazedgroup.com/Fashion/article/1541/1/Hedi_Slimanes_London_Teenage_Portfolio and I’ll be fucked if I know, but he probably has worked with him before. The whole silhouette looks like his stuff, it looks like he took those photo’s too.. Quite amazing just how dominant his influence still is really. That’s a good thing though. I reckon anywya.

  2. says

    I am a fan.
    I owe a lot to the aesthetic and ideals that Hedi brought to Dior.

    I’d be interested to see if this sparks any further dialogue because I only know of three or four other people who see how much influence he, along with Raf Simons, has had over menswear in the last decade.

  3. says

    Hedi Slimane did fricken everything for menswear today. Look at all the jock guys who dissed everyone wearing skinny jeans back in the day – they’re all wearing it now. Where did that come from? Hedi Slimane.

    All us skinny guys who used to get slammed in high school can now laugh at all the rugby heads. Bet they wish they could get rid of those beer guts now.

    Speaking of beer guts, where’s John Randerson?

  4. says

    Also – speaking of Raf Simons, what the hell has happened to that guy? Did you see his latest collection? Snakes on pants? A LOGO on everything?? It looked like bad Louis Vuitton menswear from 1997.

    I don’t get it.

    Someone please explain.

  5. says

    Get out of my Balmain Homme Stymest!
    Can’t wait to track an Australasian stockist of this down now I have a job.

    To me though Hedi’s designs will always have a fragility to them them that most imitators miss, whether that be through material, detailing or cut.
    The main flaw in any imitations of Hedi-era Dior Homme (read: most ‘avante-guard’ micro-labels) is proportion. The exactitude of his proportions is what separated Dior Homme from any other label and is what allowed Hedi to get away with making the most ‘feminine’ clothes for men. I mean nothing makes you feel more like a man than wearing a tailored suit, right – just apply that to everything from leather jackets to jeans, puffer jackets to knits and that’s Dior Homme.

    I think it’s unfair to compare Balmain to Dior because Hedi-era Dior Homme was more than just clothes, it was culture.

  6. says

    Sorry I was drinking beer. Nah actually I wasn’t. That was a bit of humor for everyone to enjoy on their Wednesday. Your welcome. Your welcome.

  7. A says

    Rufus raises an interesting point here, and being one that has also grown up under the Dior / Heidi mantle, the distinction between culture and mere clothes is something that I think can be taken further. It is easy to look at the efforts of Balmain and other designers as simply ‘cashing in’ on the Heidi phenomenon, yet I would like to think this notion of the ‘tribute collection’ has now been exceeded.

    Could this look, and style, be equated to a wider cultural (or subcultural) movement? And could Balmain and others be seen as contributors to this rather than as followers? Admittedly, as Rufus rightly points out, Heidi played a large part in the development of this larger entity; through music, photography and other visual arts. However his approach was from the start highly amalgatory, and at times voyeuristic.

    I guess the question is not whether Heidi ‘started’ this, we all know where we stand on that. It is instead whether we should look at this collection, and the movement in general, as something that has passed, or something that is ongoing.

  8. says

    To be fair Isaac, I think Raf Simons is equally, or even more, responsible for the representation (not misrepresentation, ‘heroin-chic’) of the slim aesthetic. His silhouettes from the mid nineties up until about 2003-2004 were super tailored and refined.

    As for his latest collections, people grow, aesthetics change – it’s hard to be an angsty post-punker when you’re 41.
    I think Raf’s principals are still the same when it comes to designing a collection but the context (market) in which he designs has changed dramatically and this aspect is a huge influence to how a designer designs, don’t you think?

  9. says

    Well look at what most of us are still wearing – similar sillhouettes to the Slimane-era days right?

    Can you imagine wearing something completely different? If yes, then the moment probably has passed. If not, then it’s probably ongoing.

    Yay? Nay?

  10. says

    Rufus – yes I agree with that, but his whole thing from the very beginning was that anarchy/riotous adolescent revolution which we all knew and loved. Now the guy’s gone luxury? I understand the need to move on, grow and develop as a designer.

    But I don’t understand that cataclysmic shift.

  11. says

    I bought a pair of skinny levis in 2003 or 2 or something without realising I had Hedi Slimane to thank for that. It’s a bit like that movie the Devil Wears Prada and goddamn Streep is going on and on about that blue sweater that Anne Hathaway is wearing and telling this long winderd story about how the 15 years ago a designer used that shade of blue.. I think the point of the story was that she was trying to illustrate how a designers influence disseminates into all aspects of fashion or something. Hedi’s done that now. Cunts that used to make disparraging comments about tight jeans are noew fair happy to wear them themselves, like you said before. I always wonder how much steem that silhouette has left though. I hope Harem Pants don’t become a popular thing any more than they already have. Oh gee man, I sure do hate harem pants

  12. says

    Well, nay on some points.

    Yes, there the profile of menswear in New Zealand is still very Hedi and I’ll admit that it is extremely tiring to see local and Australasian brands replicate this but there is a competing aesthetic and I’m surprised you haven’t brought up yet. I mean take one look at Damir Doma, Lumen et Umbra, Miharayasuhiro, Carol Christian Poell, m.a+, The Viridi-Anne – even the Ann Demeulemeester , the new avant-garde silhouette is right there and has been developing for quite a while.

    Do you agree?

  13. says

    You know I can’t deal with that man.. I can’t. I’d rather wear shorts.. Or double knee’d dickies with the cellphone pocket.. or uban cammo cargo pants

  14. says

    Yeah but I don’t like that nouveau-avant-garde (your words). Well not for me anyway. And those guys were around back in 2006 anyway. If we’re going to do that then we may as well bring Margiela and fecking Rick Owens into the conversation.

    But to be honest I don’t really get your point.

  15. says

    You mentioned that if I could imagine ‘wearing something completely different’ then ‘the moment has probably passed’ and I am explaining to you that there is a completely different, high-end silhouette that exists with the same intellectual, conceptual and ideal properties of Hedi-era Dior and Kraftwerk-era Raf so lets talk discuss it.

    I know you don’t like it and I would never forcibly make you talk about Rick Owens Isaac, I know how much you dislike him.

  16. says

    Oh snap. Don’t you fricken get me started on man leggings. If it’s not bad enough for girls to be walking around in tights-as-pants, now men are taking it upon themselves to walk around in these pathetic excuses for long johns.

    Makes me sick to my stomach, John. Sick to my stomach.

  17. Anonymous says

    I’m a huge fan of hedi, its totally how i like to dress but I’m a woman
    and I also think tights on men look great
    think Justin Hawkins! If someone doesn’t wear em to FW this year i’ll be gutted!

  18. says

    Struggling to come to terms with how similar Ash looks to Freja Beha Erichsen here.. The first photo in particular. Brother/sisters atleast? A shoot w both of them would be fantasimo..!

  19. Anonymous says

    Hedi like no one else in menswear was living his design. true it was precise, immaculate design, with a vision, and culture, that’s right, but also it was about his own life. still is. No other designer, except YSL was living it, including raf, who was a rebel in his fashion studio.
    Hedi took part of the new indie scene, with fashion design, and photographs, and he made it happen in fashion. Balmain Homme is just another brand, another attempt to steal from him all they can.

  20. says

    If I saw a man wearing leggings I may vomit right there and then. On him and his crazy leggings. And anyone surrounding him.

    Message to the world: Don’t ever hang out with a man wearing leggings cos I may just come across you and then, oh woops, you’ve got a face full of vomit.

    Please please don’t let that become a trend fashion gods. Its almost as bad a kathmandu puffer jackets as fashion.

    But this editorial rocks my party, if we are actually talking about this post not meggings.

  21. says

    For me Hedi’s final Dior Homme collection ( AW 07/08) encapsulated the phenomenology of his aesthetic. A highly original and sensorial collection that is still weakly regurgitated by “micro brands” who are simply leeching off an aesthetic dream. They will never even come close to entering into the poetic sphere that Slimane created. The same can be said of the early Raf collections and I also see it in the present day form of Damir Doma, Rick Owens, Julius and Boris Bidjan Sibera. A silhouette that unique to each entails. All these designers stimulate an emotion and an unwavering sense of loyalty to their orginal aesthetic. We appreciate the Balmain shoot because it reminds us of Slimane and his aesthetic. Our immediate response is tainted by nostalgia. Any collection should be appreciated within it’s own context, within it’s own parameters but I have the impression that Christophe Decarnin is not trying to achieve anything other than a commercially successful collection. This is particulalry apparent in the usage of Ash Stymest, who’s so over exploited he’s now a commodity in himself.

  22. says

    Laid. To. Rest.
    Nice one Bashely.

    Interesting point brought up a while back – Designers who wear their own designs.

    Interesting how Raf was never seen in his catwalk pieces whereas Hedi was. I guess this the difference could be that Raf was a purveyor of culture versus Hedi, who was a much more a curator culture.

    I think the separation becomes even more interesting when you look at the consumers – who was actually wearing the clothes and becoming(consciously or unconsciously)exponents of/for this culture.

  23. Anonymous says

    Pretty sure I’ve seen your mate Dayne wearing leggings/meggings in the past – when’s the isaac vomiting on dayne’s leggings vid going up?? I think it’ll rate through the roof!

  24. says

    I’ve never seen Dayne wearing meggings but rest assured, if he ever did in my presence I’d spew all over him.

    He has designed a few pairs of man leggings for Zambesi though… I think I might have to kick him in the shins just for that.

  25. NKN says

    I have mildly enjoyed reading this discussion and although I have not dissected it throughly enough to participate and give a female point of view I feel as though “R”, “A” and “BASH” have bought up some interesting points from some obvious dedicated research and loyal examination. This I appreciate…

    BASH – Ash Stymest, is indeed over exploited which is a shame because he is so resplendent, especially in black and white. It drives me fucking insane how publications can abuse male models.

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