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Fashion Nation: Balmain’s creative director Olivier Rousteing on being part of the ‘H&M generation’

With H&M’s collaborative line with Balmain set to hit Indian racks next week, Olivier Rousteing talks about making fashion for everyone

Written by Kimi Dangor | Updated: December 25, 2015 11:27:45 pm
Balmain, H&M collection, Olivier Rousteing, #HMBalmaination, fashion house, talk (Far left) Olivier Rousteing of Balmain; campaign images of the Balmain x H&M collection, starring Gigi Hadid, Jourdan Dunn and Kendall Jenner.

Last week at Wall Street in New York, the hugely anticipated collaborative collection between fashion house Balmain and high street brand H&M made its global runway debut for a celebrity audience. At a venue themed like a futuristic subway station, Backstreet Boys entertained the crowds, even as models Gigi Hadid, Jourdan Dunn, Alessadra Ambrosio and Karlie Kloss walked the runway to showcase a line of glamorous and richly detailed dresses, tailored pieces, coats, jackets, as well as wardrobe essentials, designed by Balmain’s creative director Olivier Rousteing.

The Balmain x H&M collection, which will be available in around 250 stores worldwide, as well as online, starting November 5, has been called “a dream come true” by Rousteing. The 29-year-old, who remembers waiting in line for hours when H&M’s first designer collaboration with Karl Lagerfeld went on sale in 2004, speaks about being part of the ‘H&M generation’. Excerpts from the email interview:

What does this collaboration mean to you personally, and for Balmain as a brand?

The Balmain x H&M collaboration feels like a personal achievement, and when I was designing it, it took me back to when I was a teenager dreaming of a life in fashion. It made me realise how far I have come and what I have achieved in my career. I am so excited that H&M wants to welcome Balmain into their stores, because their doors are the most famous in all of fashion. They want to make Balmain available to so many people around the world, how could I not be happy about that? I believe that fashion should be for everyone, and this collaboration helps me to share a positive message of diversity and community with the whole world.

Many of the pieces look like Balmain mainline. Doesn’t that hurt the value of brand Balmain?

When we agreed to collaborate with H&M, I already knew what I wanted to do. I love my followers on Instagram, because they always tell me exactly what they love about Balmain, and what they dream of wearing. With this collection, I wanted to make their dreams come true, and to give them the chance to have the pieces they never knew they’d ever wear. I am so excited that I am going to see my pieces on the street, and that people on Instagram can show me how they’re wearing Balmain using the hashtag #HMBalmaination. It is amazing that more people are going to know our brand, and be a part of the glamorous Balmain life.

Your label will reach customers in India too through H&M.

When H&M told me that they were opening their first store in India this year, I was crazy with excitement. India is an incredible country with such amazing traditions and heritage. I want my designs to touch the whole world, and to bring people together as one nation.

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