INSEPARABLE FROM MUSIC
The House Ethos
Music’s role in the creation of each Balmain collection goes far beyond the tunes heard as Balmain’s models make their way down a Fashion-Week runway. Every step that the Balmain design team and Olivier Rousteing take for each and every one of the house’s collections—from the initial designs to the final campaign shooting—is always accompanied by an inspiring soundtrack.
“I’m French—so, here comes the Proustian reference! For me, music functions like his famous madeleine: it just takes a series of notes to trigger an avalanche of thoughts, inspirations and memories. It is impossible to imagine a creative moment or inspiration without thinking of its accompanying music. I need music to always accompany every step of my creative process, to help make each moment that much richer.”
OLIVIER ROUSTEING: MUSIC HAS ALWAYS BEEN KEY FOR ME
“For me. there’s never been a clear boundary between music and fashion. That’s simply the way my generation grew up. I can’t conceive of one without the other. So, Balmain’s offerings are always closely tied to music—its melodies inspire me, its beats push me forward at each step of the creative process and its messages become key component of every collection."
THE FIRST BALMAIN FESTIVAL
In 2019, Olivier Rousteing’s dedication to music pushed him and his team to truly pump up the volume—to whole new level. They created a special Balmain moment that was as much concert as runway, presenting the house’s men’s collection during Paris’ annual joy-filled, all-night music celebration, la Fête de la Musique.
THE FIRST BALMAIN FESTIVAL
Balmain constructed an impressive, ephemeral festival site inside the French capital’s beautiful Jardin des Plantes and the house’s models shared the enormous runway with fantastic performances from some of Olivier Rousteing’s favorite international artists. 1,500 free tickets were available to those who wanted to join in the festivities—and donations from those guests, as well as the proceeds from the sales of limited-edition Balmain festival merchandise and food and drink offerings were all donated to help (RED) and the Global Fund in their fight to end AIDS during our lifetime.
In 2020, the Colombian superstar Maluma, after noting how perfectly the relaxed Miami Vibe spirit of Balmain’s latest men’s offerings meshed with the singer’s unique Caribbean-infused music, reached out to Olivier Rousteing to have him design his outfit for a live VMA performance. That led to the two working closely together on a whole new line of designs intended for his tour—and, ultimately, to the release of a special, limited-edition collection of Balmain-Maluma sneakers and ready-to-wear designs.
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Balmain + Apple Music
In a first for both, Balmain and Apple Music joined together to create Signature, a Super Room on Apple Music that is jointly curated by Balmain Creative Director Olivier Rousteing and Apple Music editors. Deftly fusing music and fashion, the content-driven editorial platform launched immediately following the house’s Spring 2021 Paris Fashion Week runway presentation.
"I’m often asked how we choose our collaborations. Above all, I search out new challenges. To have a chance to learn from the leading experts in a completely different field helps me grow as a person and it also serves to push me and my team to develop new ways of thinking for future offerings. But teaming up with Beyoncé brought this learning process to a whole other level. To be able to work closely with a master like her to find the best way to bring couture to performance and music, was a stroke of luck—and left me with some amazing memories, which I will treasure for many years to come.”
Balmain x Beyoncé X Coachella
“Let’s just cut to the chase: There’s not likely to be a more meaningful, absorbing, forceful and radical performance by an American musician this year, or any year soon, than Beyonce’s headlining set at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on Saturday night.
It was rich with history, potently political and visually grand. By turns uproarious, rowdy, and lush. A gobsmacking marvel of choreography and musical direction.” The New York Times : Beyoncé Is Bigger Than Coachella April 15, 2018
“‘I’ve worn one-of-a-kind Balmains in arenas all across the globe, in videos shot inside the world’s finest museum and during some very important personal moments, as well.
And—maybe you remember?—there were also two very special weekends in Coachella…
That’s where we showed the world what’s possible when two perfectionists get together (yes, let’s remember, we are both Virgos!) My team, your team, you, me—we worked like mad to make every one of those hundreds of looks exactly right for those special concerts, those special weekends.
And we did it. Yes. We did it.
You’ve helped me make my musical statements and you’ve helped me to amplify my messages—and your designs have made me feel beautiful.
Thank you, Olivier.”
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THE SECOND BALMAIN FESTIVAL 2021
The house’s first festival, two years earlier, had helped to bring Balmain’s dedication to music, fashion and the fight against AIDS to a whole new level. Olivier Rousteing and his entire team were incredibly disappointed when pandemic realities forced a cancellation of 2020’s festival—which explains the high-level of excitement for 2021’s event, which promised the return of the singular mix of the beauty of friendship, the power of music and the excitement of Paris fashion week.
Doja Cat opened the festivities, wearing vintage Balmain by Olivier Rousteing
JESSE JO STARK
Jesse Jo Stark made it clear to everyone why Olivier Rousteing had insisted that she play the lead singing role in Balmain’s episodic series, Fracture. As Rousteing told the press: “her beautiful music has been stuck on a non-stop loop inside my head for months.”
Franz Ferdinand, closed the Second Balmain Festival celebrations — the Scottish band has been a favorite of Olivier Rousteing ever since his days as a young student in Bordeaux.
THE THIRD BALMAIN FESTIVAL
Open to thousands IRL (and live-streamed to many thousands more) the third Balmain Festival highlighted the house’s unique passion for the perfect trio of friendship, fashion and music. But, of course, that’s not all—the Balmain Festival also continued to raise funds in support of the essential work of (RED) and The Global Fund in the fight to end AIDS within our lifetime.
A SPECIAL LOVE OF SHARING FASHION AND MUSIC CREATIONS
The third Balmain festival continued the house’s love for open-to-all concert-meets-runway experiences, highlighting Olivier Rousteing’s Renaissance-inspired designs alongside performances from The Blaze, CKay and Shygirl—and the evening closed with a surprise appearance from very special friend of the house.
Ever since 2015, when “Chocolate City” was released, the Balmain design team has been playing CKay on steady rotation. So, Olivier Rousteing was very pleased to have the artist bring his unique Emo-Afrobeats to the Balmain runway.
First introduced to soft falsetto of Shygirl by London friends, Olivier Rousteing was very happy to bring her across the Channel, in order to highlight her playful and sensual creations during the third Balmain Festival.
The Blaze (the French music and video duo of cousins Guillaume and Jonathan Alric) brought their compelling fusion of stunning films and moving dance music to the Balmain Festival.
The Balmain Festival is Balmain’s annual celebration of the beautiful possibilities that might be achieved by combining the best in music and fashion. So, to close the third festival, there couldn’t possibly be a better artist than Cher. After all, she’s been making it clear to everyone—ever since the ‘60s—just how powerful the perfect combo of those two arts can be.
BJORK AND BALMAIN COUTURE
“Ever since I first was introduced to her art as a teenager, I’ve been amazed by how Björk manages to continually defy any and all categorizations. Her success as an actor, singer and composer is, above all, marked by an openness and daring to explore new ideas, embrace new techniques and surpass every limit.”
BJORK AND BALMAIN COUTURE
“My latest couture collection sets out my vision for a modern vision of couture, aiming to incorporate the mindset of my generation into our designs. I was pleased to see that vision immediately embraced, especially by so many artists in the music world—including Björk. After seeing the images, she immediately reached out to me, to see if I would be willing to build upon the spirit of that collection for her tour.”
BJORK AND BALMAIN COUTURE
“When a legend reaches out to request your collaboration, it is, of course, an honor. I’m proud to know that Björk values my artistic vision—and, I’m incredibly happy to see my couture, (which I see as a moment to express my most creative vision), adapted by a visionary who is a non-stop force in experimental creativity.”
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