A model wears a creation by French designer Olivier Rousteing for Balmain's spring-summer 2013 ready to wear collection in Paris, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
PARIS - To welcome in next spring, some designers in Paris have said it with flowers. Balmain said it with wicker.
Never one to travel with the crowd, 27-year-old designer Olivier Rousteing used artisanal Cuban wicker-weaving as a vehicle for his signature graphic silhouettes.
Rousteing — who on Thursday completed a full year at the helm of the iconic French fashion house — possesses a roving eye for cultural artifacts. Last season his muse was the Russian Faberge egg.
Strong shouldered, highly structured looks came with cropped tops, lashings of jewel and slices of torso at his Paris Fashion Week show.
Yet the high point was the wicker-embellished cropped jackets that growled like a fierce, feminine exoskeleton.
Rousteing cited among his influences "Latin cool," the singer Sade, and street rap from the 1990s — but the 3-D woven straw evoked a baroque mood. That feeling was also evoked by lavish diamond checkerboard patterns — a replica of the polished marble flooring of the Versailles Palace.
In other nice touches, the archive was revisited with a new interpretation of the iconic smoking jacket — this time, as a curvier, crossover jacket with a wing sleeve.
For daywear — a weak spot in his previous two collections — a series of wearable denim ensembles worked well with the on-trend accentuated midriff.
No doubt Rousteing will pass his annual job review.
Thomas Adamson can be followed at http:/ /Twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP