Huffpost Style

Balmain's Versailles-Inspired Show (PHOTOS, POLL)

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BY JENNY BARCHFIELD, AP:

PARIS — Royalty – from the Sun King to pop icon Prince – ruled the Balmain catwalk with a golden fist Thursday. The red hot Paris label sent out a fall-winter 2010-2011 ready-to-wear collection of skintight pantsuits and minidresses with shoulders as outsized as Louis XIV's ego in rich, regal purples and sparkling with a royal treasury's worth of gold.

As a medley of Prince hits blasted over the loudspeakers, models in stiletto booties pounded the catwalk in long-tailed jackets in velvet brocade and pants in sequins and leather that looked as if they had been shrunk-wrapped to their size zero bodies.

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Fringes of fine gold chains dangled from the sleeves of dresses so short it appeared that the lion's share of the fabric used to make them went into the sleeves.

Supermodel Carmen Kass, a regular on the Balmain catwalk, said the clothes even made her feel like royalty.

"You feel very powerful," the platinum-haired model told a scrum of reporters after the show. "Powerful and sexy and gorgeous."

While designer Christophe Decarnin, whose sculpted shoulder blazers and ultra-mini dresses have made the label a must for jetsetting party girls the world over, didn't exactly break ground, he did finally move beyond the rock princess aesthetic of seasons past. Gone were the oversized tee-shirts with sequin stripes, replace by translucent silk blouses with an oversized bow at the neck that were pure Prince. In rich paisley-covered velvet, instead of the leathers of the past tattered with holes, the blazers were decidedly more Versaille than nightclub.

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