In 2011, French fashion designer Oliver Rousteing replaced Christophe Decarnin as Balmain’s creative director. Considering that Rousteing is a young, black male, his position in a high-end fashion house created a considerable buzz in the industry. His social media count is absurdly high, making Balmain the first French label with over a million followers, and his relationships to celebrities has only attracted more attention. This year, he will be releasing a collection under Balmain and H&M, with Kendall Jenner and Jourdan Dunn as the famous faces of the collection. Rousteing broke the news at this year’s Billboard Music Awards with Jenner and Dunn by his side, each of them wearing articles from the collection. Kendall’s sister, Kylie, also wore the collection onstage at the awards, and Gigi Hadid is another member of the so-called #BalmainArmy. Balmain as a label has been dressing the stars since the fifties.When Pierre Balmain was alive (1914-1982), his designs were worn by starlets and figures such as Katharine Hepburn, the Duchess of Windsor, and Queen Sirikit of Thailand. Rousteign has continued that tradition through the twenty-first century, although he has directed the brand towards more men’s designs, Asian influences, and french couture.

Rousteing is thrilled to be working with H&M because of the accessibility it grants Balmain. By bringing the high-end label’s look to the general public – particularly middle class youth – they will be able to more widely distribute their designs. Economically, it’s forming a fan base that may be able to afford their couture designs later in life. To the average consumer, it will be a refreshing change. Most youth are unable to afford high-end fashion. Recruiting Kendall and Dunn was a genius way to catch the attention of the millennial generation; after all, they are the ones who shop at H&M the most, and they make up a majority of Balmain’s social media following. By collaborating with H&M, the label is also following in the footsteps of huge names such as Stella McCartney, Alexander Wang,
Isabelle Marant,
Karl Lagerfeld, and Donatella Versace. The collections have all been successful, but Balmain’s may very well break records, since the image Rousteing has created so heavily appeals to youth. It can be seen in stores on the 5th of November, 2015, and chances are that it will be in high demand.

Aesthetically, the collection is heavily embellished and fitted. Metallics are everywhere, whether it’s silver stitching as seen on Kylie’s low-cut jacket or an entirely green, shimmery dress. Most of the articles hug the body and are covered with pearls, gems, metal, and velvet offset by black or white fabric. The pieces give definite shape to waistlines and shoulders, walking the line between masculine and feminine, but the prints themselves are also geometric.
Straps are set to make repeated appearances; everything from the shoes to the outfits are caged and framed. It’s luxurious and glamorous, but modern and wearable, which fits perfectly with H&M’s goal as a brand.