The landscape of fashion is changing. According to Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing, “social media represents its revolution and total modernisation.”
Adopted as a baby from a Bordeaux orphanage into a white middle-class French family, Rousteing explains the pressure he felt to fit in; at 17 he left home, ignoring his “calling for fashion” to make his way to Paris to study law. After increasing support from his family, he dropped out of law school and went straight to work for Roberto Cavalli – something unheard of for somebody so young. After five years spent honing his skills, he ended up at Balmain, taking the position of creative director at just 25 years of age, and neither he, nor the fashion world, have looked back since.
With his opulent vision of luxury Rousteing has taken what was in essence an old, traditional house, and made it relevant, with the help of fashion’s most influential social media stars. And now, he’s bringing it to the high street. From the beginning, Rousteing’s Balmain x H&M collection was one of the most eagerly anticipated events in the fashion calendar. With the most sought-after items mysteriously finding their way onto eBay weeks before the launch, and at more than double their retail price, it seems as though everybody wants a piece of it. As each new piece of information teasingly trickled down, social media was set alight.
From Kendall Jenner’s futuristic cameo in the Balmain x H&M music video to cryptic tweets and Instagram posts, it is safe to say that the launch party was never going to be a run-of-the-mill affair. The lucky invitees were treated to a catwalk display of who’s who in the fashion world, with appearances from Karlie Kloss, Gigi Hadid and Jourdan Dunn to name just a few, and the night ending with a surprise rendition from the Backstreet Boys themselves.
After clamouring to dissect the lookbook when it was finally made available, here are a few of our favourites.
Balmain’s blazers – sharply tailored and beautifully embellished – have always been a staple piece in each campaign. Previously worn as a dress by Kendall Jenner, the poster-child of the collaboration, the beaded blazer is the essence of classic Balmain style, but thankfully without the typical Balmain price tag.
While black is predominant throughout the collection, it is also peppered with striking jades and rich ruby reds. This season, add a pop of colour to your outfit with one of the gorgeous jewel-toned bags and pouches. Coming in green, red and blue, they will easily brighten up a neutral or monochrome outfit. The only question left to ask is how many should you buy?
Make a serious style statement in earthy palazzo trousers – the flare adds elegance, the colour adds fun. Sophisticated, flattering and effortlessly cool, they are easy to dress up or dress down and perfect for any time of day.
Rousteing is bringing fun back into fashion. His models aren’t just there to advertise the clothes; they represent the changing atmosphere of the fashion world today. Whatever your opinion on Rousteing’s unique approach it is safe to say that Balmain x H&M will be everywhere this season, whether you manage to get a piece of it or not.