Relying on house symbols to create something completely unexpected.
The Balmain B-east, Olivier Rousteing’s latest sneaker offering, builds upon the designer’s well-known fascination with ‘90s silhouettes—but it’s Rousteing’s additions of a host of design breakthroughs and surprising references to the Parisian house’s singular heritage that help to transform the familiar chunky lines of a retro Dad tennis shoe into something completely unexpected.
It's obvious that the B-east owes its distinctive name to the striking animal claws clutching the soles—a clever incorporation of the powerful weapons of the iconic winged lions gracing the the coat of arms of the historic French couture house. But, while compelling references to Balmain heraldry underline a remarkable past, this new sneaker is very clearly looking forward. The design incorporates new twists on some of the house’s most innovative sneaker silhouettes, including the Balmain Unicorn’s sleek lines and the Balmain B-Bold’s eye-catching metallic mid-sole opening.
Throughout, Balmain’s famed savoir-faire is evident, with the B-east incorporating a masterful blend of materials, as well as some very impressive technical innovations—for example, the Balmain sneaker team devised five distinct molds to create the B-east’s one-of-a-kind sole.
Balmain’s familiar monogram is embossed on the back tab and the house logo adorns the tongue and sole. In addition, an entirely new house alphabet, composed of alphanumeric characters, translates the new sneaker’s name for placement on the front of the shoe. But those in the know have no need for these call-outs. B-east’s audacious attitude alone makes very clear that this is a Balmain.