All eyes were, deservingly on Cher's big entrance at Balmain's Spring/Summer 2023 fashion show but there was another deeply powerful moment hidden within the expansive collection. It was a quiet number, all flowing curves, but it may be the singularly most important item revealed by Balmain this year.
It was worn by French YouTuber Léna "Situations" Mahfouf backstage with Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing, a deceivingly simply white dress that wraps the body and frames the upper torso. It's also made of nothing but plastic Evian water bottles, upcycled into a unique eco-conscious textile.
The latest in Evian's long-running fashion partnerships, which previously included Virgil Abloh and Vetements, Balmain's Evian gown is itself fully recycled and recyclable: Evian asserts that the dress could be transformed into a new Evian water bottle as part of its circular journey, if so desired.
“I am determined to use my tools in entirely new ways, in order to create surprising, innovative and — above all — modern collections,” Rousteing said in a statement.
“My team and I are always on the lookout for inventive solutions... And that’s why we really loved exploring all the possibilities for this Balmain x Evian partnership.”
“Joining together, we could explore new possibilities of reducing waste, water pollution, soil damage and carbon emissions at every step of production. Those are objectives that my team and I have been trying to meet here at Balmain — of course, I cannot say that our Fall 2022 collection is 100% sustainable... but my team and I have resolved that we will not be daunted by the size of the challenge ahead of us.”
Balmain and Evian aren't mass-producing the dress but don't be surprised if Evian's plastic-based fabric becomes a go-to for sustainably-minded brands once it becomes scalable. Until then, though, fans can commemorate the partnership with Balmain's baroque-patterned 75cl Evian water bottle, releasing in October 2022.
What with the debut beauty collection and wild footwear coming from Balmain these days — the sandals it showed for Spring/Summer 2023 are particularly nutty — Rousteing's vision for the house is looking more and more innovative by the second.
Water bottle dresses are only the first step in the house's long journey towards sustainability, as well. In the SS23 collection's press notes, Rousteing cites the untreated raw linens and organic cottons used throughout the line as indicative of the house's eventual journey towards a greener future.
Perhaps by then, those water bottle clothes will become the norm.