Olivier Rousteing Cast a Group of CGI Models in his Latest Balmain Campaign


CGI’s not a completely new tool in the fashion industry – after all, cyber It-Girl Lil Miquela has collaborated with brands like Prada and NYC-based AREA. But Olivier Rousteing took the trend to a whole new level when he decided to cast three CGI models for his latest Balmain campaign. That’s right – as if women didn’t have enough to stress over in looking at real life models, we now have to compare ourselves to digital perfection.


For the brand’s Pre-Fall 2018 campaign, Rousteing reached out to digital artist Cameron-James Wilson to “construct a new, alternative and virtual Balmain Army.” Wilson became popular earlier this year with his virtual model Shudu, who has almost 150K Instagram followers, and has graced the pages of The Cut and The New Yorker.


For the Balmain campaign, however, Wilson created two more models, Margot and Zhi, so the trio could model digital versions of the brand’s Pre-Fall collection created by CLO, a company that creates “true to life 3D garment simulation” to help designers throughout their development process.


The campaign definitely looks cool, but also, kind of like a Sims version of a fashion ad. Yet is Balmain just the first brand to reject IRL models to dive head first into CGI? We’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, I guess we should all follow Shudu on Instagram. I mean, she’s already stealing our jobs. So, best to keep an eye on our man’s DMs.


Insta-Critic: Balmain’s 80s Supermodel Lineup

Photo: @balmainparis on Instagram

What is Balmain but a guaranteed spotting of Kanye + Kim + Kris + Kendall (on the runway) etc. Not content to be outdone by Olivier Rousteing’s A-list supermodel casting, Kim brought a surprise to her #frow seat: a new hairstyle so controversial, it captured Instagram’s attention just as much as (and if we’re being real, more than) the new Balmain collection. Since your breath is baited, here it is:

Blonde at Balmain

A photo posted by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on

Kim steals the spotlight.

Now back to the clothes for a sec: Rousteing’s collection was filled with Beetlejuice infused looks and the show read like a who’s who of the models of the moment. We spotted Alessandra Ambrosio, Jessica Stam, Binx Walton, Karlie Kloss, Jourdan Dunn, Joan Smalls, Gigi Hadid, and Kendall Jenner, who must have to really train her eyes so as not to be distracted by her fam. The unapologetically maximalist collection was full of 80s brights, micro-pleats, flares, and ruffles. There was lots of lace, lots of boobs, and massive belt buckles. Shoulder volume, again, à la the 80s, no longer needs icky foam pads in 2015, Balmain delivered the look vis-à-vis massive fur sleeves.

BALMAIN FALL/WINTER 2015 Alessandra, Look 1 #BalmainFW15 #BalmainStory A photo posted by BALMAIN (@balmainparis) on

Alessandra opens the show.

Here’s your requisite Kendall pic.

Karlie gets punny.

Casting Surprise (to No One): Kim and Kanye for Balmain

Photo: John Salangsang/BFAnyc.com

Well this is…unsurprising.


Et billede slået op af Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) den

Now that the infamous Vogue cover is in the bag, anything is possible. Not to mention that Kim and Kanye are established frow-sitters now.

Perhaps if it were any other brand than the Olivier Rousteing-helmed Balmain, this ad debut might have been more notable. But as avid media consumers, I think we’ve already established that Rousteing is firmly team Kimye. The sexed up ad is nothing short of what we’ve come to expect from Kardashian (and West’s) meticulous self-branding.

Balmain Spring/Summer 2015 campaign Zdjęcie zamieszczone przez użytkownika Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian)


Regardless. Congrats Kimye, you are officially fashion A-listers. Then again–so is this guy.

Paris Fashion Week: Checking in with Balmain

Olivier Rousteing does it again. For the second runway season as Balmain’s head designer, the young talent delivered more of the same refreshing innovation we saw in his stellar debut. Fall 2012 is all about balancing intricacy with simplicity, and Rousteing illustrates this idea well by pairing busy embellished tops with solid bottoms. Then there were the bodycons.

In true Balmain fashion, Rousteing presented a set of bodycon party dresses that will soon become the seasonal uniform for just about every model off duty. While a few of them were rather predictable, there were some jaw-dropping numbers framed with vividly gorgeous cameo portraits in the center. More of that, please.

View the complete collection here

Balmain’s New Diffusion Line Not Designed by Olivier Rousteing

The Good News: Come December, French fashion house Balmain is launching Pierre Balmain, a new lower-priced men’s and women’s line. The not-so-good news: Christophe Decarnin’s predecessor is not designing it. British Vogue reports that the secondary line will be “created by a new design team” and “will not be overseen by the label’s new creative director, Olivier Rousteing.” We can’t help by raise an eyebrow, given that the new line is said to target a younger customer and Rousteing is at the ripe age of 25.

Perhaps Balmain wants to keep their luxury and diffusion sectors separate, but it’s still interesting to hear that they’re hiring an Italian manufacturer to produce and distribute the line rather than keep everything in-house. We’re smitten with Rousteing’s stellar debut for Resort 2012, so it saddens us even more to hear that he’ll have no involvement whatsoever. We wonder what Decarnin would have to say about all this…

Olivier Rousteing’s Stellar Debut for Balmain

A dash of tribal mystique, a touch of Elvis swagger, and a lot of rock-star edge. The Resort 2012 formula for Balmain’s new head designer, Olivier Rousteing, was an impressive combination of inspirations. The 25-year-old talent knew the fashion world had great expectations for his debut collection, considering that everything his predecessor Christophe Decarnin touched at the French fashion house turned to gold. And although Rousteing thoughtfully maintained the brand’s rock ‘n’ roll spirit, he definitely made his own mark by introducing new trends that we’re sure to see on the Kate Lansphears and Emmanuelle Alts of the world, like Elvis pants and statement belts. See a few standout looks after the jump.

Tribal motif separates and slick shoes (we love those ankle cuffs): image

Razor-sharp blazers, silky jumpsuits, and a leggy evening gown: image

View the complete collection here.

The Great Expectations of Balmain’s New Designer

After much speculation over who would replace Christophe Decarnin at Balmain (stylist Melanie Ward was a promising contender), today the French fashion house has officially appointed Olivier Rousteing to the covetable role. Not only has the designer been with Balmain since 2009, but he also worked with Roberto Cavalli for five years prior, so although young, he’s as well-fit for the role as any. However, considering the rocker-chic magic that Decarnin brought to the brand, which spawned a new breed of hardcore luxury fans, there’s no question Rousteing has big shoes to fill.

T magazine discussed the potential hurdles for the new designer with Marcelo Maquieira, a buyer for an Amsterdam boutique that has been carrying Balmain since 2005. “Customers have changed,” he explains. “Before they used to spend two hours in the store and look at everything. We had time to explain that this coat was made by an Italian designer who buried it in his backyard to get just the right color. Now they come in and they already know what they want and from which brand.” But the new designer shouldn’t affect interest in the brand—that is, if it’s a seamless transition design-wise. “I’m willing to bet that none of my Balmain customers know Decarnin’s name,” he continues. “If the brand continues to give them what they want — status and sex appeal — then they don’t care who the designer is.”

T also caught up with Paris boutique L’Espionne’s buyer, Claudine Barnabe, who already has mixed emotions about the label after seeing Decarnin’s fall pre-collection.”There was no rock ‘n’ roll on the runway in March. I bought the collection anyway because you don’t punch someone when they’re down, but I was very disappointed.” For this client, at least, even the act Rousteing is meant to follow isn’t living up to its own name.

As with any new designer, Rousteing has to expect that there will be skeptics. But as consumers in an evolving fashion industry, we also have to understand that nothing lasts forever—and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

The Model Mecca at Today’s Balmain Fashion Show

Want to see the world’s most in-demand models all in one place? Go to a Balmain show. Today’s fall/winter 2011 collection burst forth in all its future-disco glory. Fashion Week favorites like Anja Rubik (left) hit the catwalk in a bedazzled long-sleeved mini dress that was anything but dainty, no surprise considering the French fashion house’s signature heavy metallic play. Another catwalk regular, Abbey Lee Kershaw, emerged in a gold pant suit paired with white space boots à la David Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust phase. Queen of androgyny Freja Beha Erichsen played it cool in a black goat hair-shouldered catsuit that I can’t wait to see Anna Dello Russo rock. Sasha Pivovarova walked in an amazing half long-sleeve, half halter mini dress with a glitzy tribal-like pattern that Proenza Schouler would appreciate. See all of these looks (and more) after the jump.


Freja Beha Erichsen, Natasha Poly, Abbey Lee Kershaw, and Carmen Kass.


Joan Smalls, Sasha Pivovarova, Magdalena Frackowiak, and Arizona Muse.

In less positive news, rumors have been swirling as to why Balmain creative director Christophe Decarnin did not appear for the show’s finale. Racked reports that a source says that he had a nervous breakdown and has been under care at a mental hospital since January. Balmain’s stylist Melanie Ward is said to have designed the FW11 collection in light of his absence. Whether this is true or not, our thoughts are with Decarnin.

Photo: Style

‘Vogue Russia’ Faux Pas

Vogue Russia has just released its first issue under the direction of Editor-in-Chief Viktoria Davydova, and already it is stirring up controversy. Not only is the January 2011 cover girl, Alina Kabaeva, not a model but rather a gold medal-winning rhythmic gymnast, and wearing a gold Balmain dress that has already been seen on many other covers, but Alina is also the reputed mistress of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Needless to say, (previous) fans have taken to online forums en masse and are not impressed. Your move, Vogue Russia.