Haute couture is the most luxurious part of the fashion universe, where designers make custom creations with the finest materials, based on a client’s tastes.
Balmain has taken a decidedly different approach: Its latest couture gown is made of trash.
The French fashion house collaborated with Evian to develop yarn made from recycled plastic bottles. Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing then used the yarn to craft a shimmering, sculptural dress that could rival any traditional couture gown.
The fashion industry has embraced recycled plastic. It is used in everything from Patagonia jackets to Rothy’s shoes in an attempt to offset plastic waste (manufacturers churn out roughly 2 trillion plastic drinks containers annually, 85% of which end up in landfills). The Evian-Balmain partnership reveals how it can be used to create even the most artistic, high-end garments on the market.
Evian worked with Balmain to transform its old water bottles into a light blue yarn that was then milled into a fine, lightweight fabric. Since the fabric is made from a single material, it is easier to recycle one more time once the dress has reached the end of its life.
Rousteing was inspired by the concept of water when creating the gown. Its silhouette is designed to conjure up the idea of a whirlpool, with fabric flowing downward, as if the wearer were a vortex. The shimmer on the material suggests light hitting water. As the model wears it down the runway on September 28 at the Stade Jean Bouin during Paris Fashion Week, her movements will make the dress look like swirling water.