Heavy embellishment, highly structured silhouettes and intricate details resembling battlefield armour; that’s what we’ve come to expect from Balmain with Olivier Rousteing at the helm and his new collection for Swedish supergiant H&M is no different. Last night, the model army came out in its droves for the Balmain x H&M launch party with Kendall Jenner, Jourdan Dunn and Gigi Hadid topping the poll of it-girls populating fashion’s new battlefield.
H&M is known for its collaborations with high-end designers from Marni to Isabel Marant and the latest pairing with Alexander Wang did not disappoint. But the Kardashian association (Kim famously wore an embellished Balmain mini-dress for her hen party in 2014) links the new collaboration to a much wider audience because of the throngs of fans following the reality star’s every move.
Rousteing, the man with the razor-sharp cheekbones and the most perfected Insta-selfie, has pronounced Kendall as the linchpin of the campaign. He compared Jenner to the supers of the 90s and described her at the girl-du-jour which is no surprise considering her Instagram following exceeds 39 million fans. Kendall Jenner and Jourdan Dunn debuted the covetable collection at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards in May and since then, the hype has continued to grow.
Balmaination: H&M’s most commercial collaboration to date?
Balmain isn’t my usual jive. When it comes to H&M collaborations, the Isabel Marant collection is more my vibe; the understated, loose-fitting t-shirts, laid-back denim and embroidered skirts. The Balmain DNA is so intricately embellished, so form fitting, so heavily structured that it all just feels……………a little bit nineties. And where on earth would I wear such glitz ‘n glam? Hardly to the silent disco in Whelan’s on a Wednesday night? But judging from Rousteing’s choice of soundtrack at the Balmain x H&M launch party last night in New York, maybe that’s exactly the point. It can’t have been a coincidence that the 29-year-old designer chose the 90s icons Backstreet Boys to sing their greatest hits at the launch. Maybe it’s all just a giant ironic throwback and I should embrace it wholeheartedly? However, two style mavens who managed to secure my fan-status of the Balmain x H&M collab were Alexa Chung and Diane Kruger. Alexa wore a long double-breasted tuxedo blazer as a dress (does the girl ever do any wrong?) and Diane rocked an all black trousers/top combo, looking every inch the seasoned pro, nothing short of what we expect. Surprisingly, though, my favourite look of the night was worn by Rosie Huntington-Whitely, who shockingly covered up in a chic green blouse and trousers combo, looking every inch the fashion aficionado she has made her name as.
Verging on middle age; not quite sea hag, not yet swan, Mary Cate (AKA me) is a self-professed kook with a love of man-repelling outfits, raging feminist outbursts and high brow cultural escapades. Has no access to the top shelf (5' 2"). Expect hair. Lots of hair.
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