Olivier Rousteing on Balmain x H&M
See every look from the collaboration and discover the designer's favourites
You can finally take a long, good look at every piece from Balmain’s line for H&M. #HMBalmaination is a lot like the real deal – high shine, glamorously studded outfits and spectacularly ripped dresses. The punchy obi belts and lush velvets are just right to ace the maximal trend everyone’s hot on at the moment.
H&M’s latest collaborator and Balmain’s creative director Olivier Rousteing gives us the lowdown on the much-awaited collection.
ELLE: What made you go ahead with this collaboration?
Olivier Rousteing: This is always something I had in mind. Luxury can go into H&M; if they call you it means they admire your vision and it will be sold in numerous stores around the world. Also, to join the list of all these famous fashion houses like Lanvin, Karl Lagerfeld, Cavalli and Versace makes me really proud. It’s a big achievement for me to be retailed across the world through 300 stores. It’s such a huge platform.
The biggest learning experience was to work with the price range. The age group of the buyer is so different. We’re making it a lot more affordable. My Balmain woman is a little older so she will love to see her daughter wearing Balmain. The idea is to keep it young and fresh. I am used to working with a certain quality of fabric, techniques etc, so I had to really rework that aspect. It was a great challenge. Also, the buyer is so diverse and global; I had to think of customers from Japan, China, and America whereas Balmain is so niche and has a strong voice in Europe.
ELLE: Which decades do you borrow inspiration from?
OR: The usual notion is that Balmain is hugely influenced by the ’80s. To me Balmain is a lot about what’s current and what’s now. I am inspired by what’s going on around me. I want Balmain to look young, its already couture and expensive, it’s important for me to keep the pop culture and street style relevant. I am inspired by my girls Rihanna, Kendall [Jenner] or Kim [Kardashian], Michael Jackson or the 1990s, but I like to keep Balmain a refection of the reality of 2015.
ELLE: What is your creative process?
OR: My creative process is driven by my emotions, travel, friends, falling in love or watching a film…these inspire me constantly.
ELLE: Of all the H&M collaborations, which one is your favourite?
OR: According to me, the H&M and Lanvin collaboration was very special, also the one with Cavalli, Versace, Karl Lagerfeld were very interesting.
ELLE: What is it like to head a major fashion house like Balmain at such a young age?
OR: I don’t really stop to think about it, because I don’t want to worry about the future. I prefer to go with the flow, I work hard and try and make things happen. The fact that I am a creative director of such a big fashion house [began to sink in] after my first show, when the spotlight was on me, and I knew my life was about to change. I am just so happy and satisfied. I was 25 when I became the creative director and I am not even 30 and I have already collaborated with H&M.
ELLE: Your ideal Balmain Army would have…
OR: My girls Rihanna, Kim, Kendall. Kanye West, Justin Bieber, Jared Leto, Lewis Hamilton, I would like to invite a few new names like David Beckham, Michelle Obama, Kate Middleton to be part of my army. Taylor Swift is very supportive. Also all my model friends like Jourdan Dunn, Gigi Hadid, Alessandra Ambrosio who are also very strong girls.
ELLE: You’ve recently started “I Love Haters” campaign on Instagram. How do you deal with fame – and hate even – in a digital age.
OR: Since I am very young, I think the world can sometime come down really hard on me. Social media is very important for me and I handle that very well. It helps me connect with the whole world and feel more real. I can discuss just about anything from politics to food to fashion. In my eyes, whether you love someone or hate them it means you are really touched by this person. Hate is a very strong emotion, so clearly this person really loves me at some level. I affect the haters in some way, which is good. I personally don’t hate anyone probably because I don’t love either.
ELLE: Which are the key Balmain x H&M pieces one should own?
OR: I wanted to infuse the Balmain DNA in the H&M collection with pearls, velvet and the rope details. The double-breasted jacket that is tailored with gold buttons is one of my favourites for both men and women. Also, the pearl embellished jacket that Kendall wore to the Billboard Music Awards – that’s really a special one. It’s so versatile; it can be worn as a dress or as a jacket. For men, I like the jogging leather pants, silver Michael Jackson boots and all my velvet jackets, I can even wear these in summer!
The collection launches worldwide on November 5. Flip through the gallery to check out his line