Swedish retailer H&M is bringing couture style to the masses on November 5 when it launches the Balmain X H&M Collection at 250 stores.
Following a similar venture with designer Alexander Wang (its first American collaboration), the chain has tapped French luxury brand Balmain to add international flair to H&M’s affordable fashion and jewelry lines.
If the press reaction to the Balmain X H&M Lookbook — which dropped last week — is any indication, you might want to get to your local H&M well before the doors swing open. Fashion pundits are predicting a sellout before day one is done!
From Paris to You
When Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing dressed model Kendall Jenner in H&M for the Billboard Music Awards he sent a message to young fashionistas everywhere:
“I want to talk to my generation: this is my main aim as a designer,” said Rousteing in a statement. “The collaboration felt extremely natural to me: H&M is a brand that everybody connects to. It calls for unity, and I am all for it.”
H&M’s Ann-Sofie Johansson added: “With its mix of couture spirit and streetwear attitude, Balmain owns a unique style….It is also closely linked to the show business and music worlds, which adds another element of surprise.”
Keeping Up with the Balmain Army
The Balmain Army, as Rousteing’s legions of fans are called, is unofficially captained by Kim Kardashian and husband Kanye West, who together with Kim’s “momager” Kris Jenner are big customers of Rousteing’s couture creations. The Kardashians are front-row regulars at Balmain’s runway shows, often supporting little sister Kendall Jenner, the model-du-jour of designers from Paris to Milan to New York.
In addition to his obvious design talents, Rousteing has a genius for social media marketing, taking advantage of the millions of followers of his celebrity-studded fan base. In true Rousteing fashion, he’s celebrating the H&M collaboration with the hashtag #HMBalmaination, a buzzword that captures his mission to bring his luxury line to “the rest of us.”
Balmain was founded in Paris in 1945 by Pierre Balmain, who led the brand until his death in 1982. Oscar de la Renta designed for Balmain between 1993 and 2002. The brand went bankrupt but was resurrected 2005; its popularity started soaring around 2008. Rousteing joined Balmain in 2009 and became creative director in 2011.
Sources: Accessories Magazine, Vogue, Cosmopolitan