Are you ready for Balmania?

Backstage at Balmain FW15


What better moment to announce the new designerxH&M collection than at the Billboard Music Awards. Posting a short video with the caption “THE WORD IS OUT #secretrevealed join MY new ARMY #HMBALMAINNATION #areyouready?”, creative director Olivier Rousteing made the internet and fashion world burst with excitement. He follows in the footsteps of a long line of designer collaborators, from Karl Lagerfeld (2004) to Wang (2014). A great moment to take a closer look on Balmain’s DNA.

 The History

1945: Balmain is a French haute couture fashion house that was founded by Pierre Balmain.

1982: Pierre Balmain passed away and designer Erik Mortensen took over his role.

1990: designer Hervé Pierre took over working as director of ready-to-wear and haute couture.

1993: Oscar de la Renta took the helm. He had a huge impact on the luxury fashion house. He once created couture for the label, but the line was shuttered over a decade ago.

2006: Christophe Decarnin was the next name to take over the label and he sought to completely overhaul the Balmain aesthetic. By focusing on eveningwear, his sparkling, power shouldered and strong designs he provoked the ‘Balmania’ madness as we know nowadays.

2011: Olivier Rousteing was named the new creative director and designer. His task: modernising the brand and cultivate an even stronger base, with lots of French influences, to build on.

 Oliver Rousteing
Olivier Rousteing (1986) is das wunderkind in the world of fashion. Famous for his razor sharp cheekbones (how?!), his utterly interesting Instagram account with tons of supermodel selfies, and of course, his major talent as a fashion designer. He initially pursued a law degree, dropping out to study fashion at Paris’s École Supérieure Des Arts Et Techniques De La Mode. Soon after he moved to Italy to work at Cavalli, becoming the head of ready-to-wear. In 2011, when he was only 25 years old, he was asked to become creative director of Balmain, which made him the youngest designer to head a Parisian fashion house since Yves Saint Laurent at Christian Dior in the 1950s.

 The Balmain Army
Whilst mister Balmain himself invented The Jolie Madame or Jet set-woman, Rousteing won’t be doing much different today, but in a slightly more modern way. He likes to describe his ladies as the so-called “Balmain Army” and his soldiers are definitely worth for a little name-dropping, as he is the fashion prodigy behinds world’s biggest celebs including actress Kate Bosworth, Kim Kardashian, Kendal Jenner, Rihanna, Naomi Campbell, Rosie Huntington-Whitley and Daria Werbowy. Rousteing has also been hailed as a champion for casting diverse models in his catwalk shows and advertising campaigns, which, he said, is a result of his own mixed roots and background.

 The Balmain Style
It’s not a first that people go crazy over anything that wears the famous Balmain name tag. It even has a name: Balmania. Remember Decarnin’s bold-shouldered blazers? It launched a thousand knock-offs. And what about the biker pants worn by many A-listers? No wonder H&M was aiming for some Parisian rock’n roll as well. Rousteing’s richly embroidered, luxurious designs have earned him legions of fans. The designer has been credited with infusing the influential Paris house with a fresh, pop culture aesthetic, without lacking the brand’s spirit and tradition of craftsmanship.

The Balmain x H&M collection – which includes menswear as well as womenswear – will land in stores on November 5 2015. Who’s ready for some Balmainia?