Investigating Origins of a Trend.

The outfit I chose to use to investigate into the origins of a trend was from the Balmain collection for H&M which I found in the November 2015 edition of Elle magazine. I chose this outfit mainly because the bright colours from the advertisement in the magazine really caught my attention, and attracted me to the page. I also chose it because it has multiple features which could be revivals from years ago, therefore being a very suitable outfit for this post.


One of the first features of the outfit which could have possibly been a fashion revival was the ruched, puffy sleeves. These could have been a revival from the style of Liberty Dresses which were around during the Mediaeval time, as these compromised of long sleeved, draped dresses with a large amount of hand embroidery. Therefore, suggesting that the Red skirt included on the outfit could also be a revival from the fashions and trends around at this time, as many of the dresses were draped dresses, and in the 1930’s Mediaeval drapery was very common. It could have also been a revival from the Silver Lamé of the 1970’s, as this was a simple wrap-around dress, similar to the style shown on the outfit from the Balmain collection.

The high-neck of the pink blouse on the outfit, could have been influenced by the Edwardian revival which also occurred in the 1970’s. Many of the outfits at this time consisted of high-neck designs, which may be where the inspiration for this design came from.

All of these design elements are suggesting that aspects from both the Mediaeval and Edwardian times are being revived in today’s current fashions, suggesting that once a certain style becomes outdated and unpopular, it is usually updated and revived many years later, to start the fashion off again but in a more modern and trendy way.

After further looking into the Balmain collection, the main colours consist of greens, pinks, reds, yellows, purples and monochromes, with a high amount of gold detailing.

Balmain-x-HM-1 Balmain-x-HM-2 Balmain-x-HM-3 Balmain-x-HM-22Balmain-x-HM-19 [2]

This could therefore be suggesting that these colours are going to be popular on the high-street for the AW15/16 season. This is supported by WGSN colour trends, for both men and women, which show the colour palettes for the coming seasons.[3]

I also noticed that many of the products that have been designed for the Balmain collection are highly decorative pieces. The decorative components include sequins, beading and printing, along with various patterns and textures. As well as this, many of the products have been styled with chunky accessories which stand out and make a statement, with them being mostly gold in colour.[4] The chunky accessories and wide belts in particular could have been a revival from the 1950’s in which girls wore wide belts and styled them with the ‘New Look’ which was designed by Christian Dior. The ‘New Look’ consisted of a tight blouse with a full skirt.[5] Wide belts were also a popular fashion accessory in the 1980’s and therefore could be another fashion revival which is making a come back in the A/W 15/16 season.[6]

Many of the tailored products have also enhanced the shoulders, perhaps through the use of shoulder pads. The use of shoulder pads was very popular during the 1970’s and the 1980’s when ‘power dressing’ came around. Women started to become more powerful so wore shoulder pads in order to show this.[7] Therefore, the use of shoulder pads in the Balmain collection could be a revival from the 80’s, and may have been used to symbolise the power and status of the collection designer, Olivier Rousteing.

Some outfits from the Balmain collection also consist of products in which the fabric has been pleated very finely.

_A2X0015 [8]

Therefore the influence of Mariano Fortuny could have been included in the Balmain collection, through the use of the pleating. Fortuny’s silk dresses consisted of very fine permanent pleats that are very similar to the ones in the Balmain collection. They used to be weighted with murano glass beads in order to hold the pleats in place.



  1. Shauna Wyatt. (2015). Outfit from Balmain collection at H&M. ELLE Magazine. Last accessed 24th October 2015.
  2. Caroline Leaper. (2015).Everything You Need To Know About The Balmain x H&M Collaboration. Marie Claire Online. Last accessed 24th October 2015.
  3. WGSN. (2015). Colour A/W 15/16. Last accessed 24th October 2015.
  4. Leaper, C. (2015). Marie Claire. Retrieved 23 October, 2015, from
  5. Lesley Cresswell. (2001). Textiles at the Cutting Edge. 2nd Edition. Forbes Publications Ltd. Page 126.
  6. Langley, E(2015)Grazia DailyRetrieved 23 October, 2015, from
  7. Lepore, M. (2014). Levo. Retrieved 23 October, 2015, from
  8. Mower, S. (2015). Vogue. Retrieved 23 October, 2015, from
  9. Metropolitan Museum of Art. (2001). Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. Retrieved 23 October, 2015, from
Investigating Origins of a Trend.

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