pierre balmain's jolie madame of the fifties seems to have been reincarnated, under the direction of its current designer christophe decarnin into a full on, vamped up, sexed up rock goddess. its a far cry from monsieur balmain's matching glove and hat wearing socialites and aristocrats of days gone by. but just like how he dressed the duchess of windsor, the queen of belgium, and most notably queen sirikit of thailand, decarnin is dressing todays fashion royalty. championed by the likes of carrine roitfeld and emmanuelle alt at paris vogue, and the always influential kate moss, decarnin has rejuvenated the once slumberring house by injecting it with a healthy dose of sex, and rebelliousness. decarnin really is one of the the few designers who is marching to his own beat. a beat that was deafening this season when out of nowhere, and quite unexpectedly, he sent down one of the most opulent and exhuberant collections of spring/summer 2009. sergeant pepper jackets with frogging embroidered in crystals, ripped up jeans, the shortest and most salacious dresses that came heavily embellished or ripped into shreds. it provided a jolt that woke up all the weary observers after three non-stop weeks of shows. this aesthetic is not new to decarnin. he has referenced this type of woman for all his collections at balmain but what he brought new is a striking silhouette courtesy of an exaggerated shoulder that gently sloped and softened the angle. and also the blatant audacity of all the bling, and rips, and skin seemed quite unexpectedly welcome despite the heavy hood of the economy looming not far away. optimism was the word so wildly used to describe many of the collections this season, but none deserved it as much as balmain.