The campaign was slowly teased over several months. Initially, with Olivier Rousteing, Jourdan Dunn and Kendall Jenner debuting pieces from the collaboration at the Billboard Music Awards in May, with the full collection introduced at a fashion show in New York this month, culminating in the publication of the advertising campaign shot by photographer Mario Sorrenti and featuring models, Gigi Hadid, Hao Yun Xiang and Dudley O’Shaughnessy alongside Jenner and Dunn, shortly after. A video of the New York show is shown below.
Balmain is known for many things – predominantly, most media outlets like to concentrate on the acquaintances of its creative director and their prevalence in the brands promotional materials – however this collaboration occurred because of several factors. Firstly, the heritage and exclusivity of the brand (and its occasionally eye-watering price-tags, placing many items out of most individuals’ reach) and the abilities of Rousteing as a designer, in addition to his current cultural cache.
In a video for H&M, Rousteing states, “Every fitting, tailoring, everything has to look exactly like my vision.” And it does. There are many versatile and diverse pieces found within the Balmain x H&M collection. The sharp-shouldered jackets sit alongside more understated items, such as, black leather backpacks, suede high-tops and double-breasted coats featuring military detailing. Other products from the collection can be seen via the lookbook and accompanying music video.
Johnston writes that the end result “is almost a beginner’s guide to Balmain for the five years that Rousteing has been at the helm, all embroidered military-inspired jackets, tailored velvet blazers and luxury leather jogging pants, as well as T-shirts.” The clothes, however, are conventionally beautiful and made to the highest standards of French couture. “It is traditional,” Rousteing admits, “but at the same time it’s really pop and that’s the weird mix that I love to create.”