Ladies, brace yourselves. The 80s are returning. No, not in gravity

defying, Aqua Net-saturated hair (yet, at least) but with the shoulder

pad. One of the most unlikely comeback kids startled Paris fashion week

last fall in the Spring 2009 line by Christophe Decarnin's Balmain. But

before you all run to the back of your closets to retrieve your 80s

power suits, a few distinctions should be made.

There is a striking difference in Decarnin's use of the shoulder pad

from what we feared would return. The small bump in the shoulder is

applied to saucy, drummer boy jackets, à la Sgt. Pepper and Michael

Jackson, and are paired with tattered, acid wash jeans, all while

teetering on studded and diamanté laden sandals. With Madonna pumping

through the speakers, there was no denying at the opening of Paris

fashion week that a new take on attitude was pounding the runway in

Decarnin's savage and spectacular designs.

Since their debut last fall, the pads show no sign of stopping as they

also appeared in Decarnin's Fall/Winter 2009 collection. The

revitalization of the look is only heating up, already adorning stars

such as Jennifer Connelly (who wore the stunning sequined emerald green

mini dress which sported the pads) and Gweneth Paltrow (who took a more

classic approach with a Balmain white silk blazer on top of a white

dress, the shoulder pads giving her a nice angled frame).

Decarnin's Balmain combines the grit with the glam in what has been

called shameless pop-bedazzled energy' and his Parisian couture-level

skills take an extreme, sassy garment the next step to brilliantly

executed, ready-to-wear fashion. It can be sure that Decarnin's Balmain

has, once again, set the stage for a look we'll soon be seeing a lot

more of.