Will buying Balmain x H&M get me invited into the oh so cool and glamorous Balmain Army?
This is exactly what Olivier Rousteing, the creative director of luxury label Balmain, is hoping you’ll think. He is the latest designer to join forces with the fast fashion brand following Alexander Wang, Versace, Lanvin, Maison Martin Margiela and Karl Lagerfeld.
The accessibly-priced collection will debut in select H&M stores throughout the world and online November 5th (mark your calendar!) and will include clothing, bags, shoes and jewellery.
Since his succession as creative director, Rousteing has utilised the power of social media – particularly Instagram – allowing his 1.6 million followers into the Balmain world. Initially perceived as detrimental to the image of a traditional French couture house, he was one of the first designers to use Instagram and successfully do it. He created a consumer desire to want to be a Gigi or Jourdan strutting in one of the house’s heavily embellished dresses (you could say it’s the uniform of the Balmain Army). This collaboration is smart and business-savvy as Balmain has clear signatures – the sharply tailored blazers, oversized silhouettes and structured dresses. Through working with H&M, these signatures can be commodified and sold to the masses and therefore allow fans to buy into the image of Balmain.
Even the sleek photography of the ad campaigns not only featured top models Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Hao Yun Xiang and Dudley O’Shaughnessy but was also taken by Mario Sorrenti, who regularly shoots the house’s campaigns. You could be easily mistaken for thinking the ad campaigns were for a ready-to-wear collection, not for a retailer that sells $5 tops and $15 jeans.
Rousteing told Business of Fashion, “I want everyone to know they are welcome in the Balmain world.” Judging from the lookbook of the Balmain x H&M collection there is no doubt that people will be clamouring to get their hands on either the $39.95 logo shirt or the white blazer featuring gold buttons for just $139.00 to become a part of the #balmainarmy.
You’ll find below my final picks from the lookbook. Let me know if you’re planning to shop the collection and which items are your favourite!