Olivier Rousteing on Balmain x HM: 'It's like a firework'

Top Models Walk Balmain X H&M Runway
Top Models Walk Balmain X H&M Runway


Olivier Rousteing, the mastermind behind the super-hot Balmain brand, debuted his first collaboration with H&M last night in New York City.

We're talking sequins, glam and glitz.

And hefty price tags. A leather blazer, from the main line, will set you back $4,080 on Net-a-Porter.com.

So we were dying to learn how he's making this new venture accessible. We got the chance to sit down with Olivier before the collection went down the runway Tuesday evening, and he gave us insight into bringing the luxury of Balmain to life on an H&M budget.

You have millions of fans, and you have the Balmain Army -- what does it feel like to know that with this collection you'll be able to reach millions more men and women?
It is so amazing. It's a dream come true! Because at the end of the day, maybe Balmain clothes and price is not global, but my vision is global. So naturally, working with H&M is such a big achievement as a designer but also as a human being, because I always loved pop culture, and I think it's everything that's coming up. So I'm really, really happy that this is happening, and that so many boys and girls will be able to afford this piece of a dream, but it's going to be quick! It's like a firework, something that happens and is amazing, but it ends so fast.


True, and give it two hours and it will be sold out! The Balmain collections that you design are so couture, so what was it like working on this collection with H&M and translating your designs for the collaboration?
It was a pretty hard job, but I think we made it happen. We tried to not compromise anything, to make sure that we found the right balance between Balmain and H&M and I think we made it happen. A lot of craftsmanship, a lot of artwork, embroidery, a lot of quality, but that was the deal! When you love Balmain and you get the brand, that's what you're going to get, so you don't want to compromise on that. I just changed some techniques, changed some beading, changed the fabrics, but made sure the aesthetic is still the same, that you feel the Balmain DNA.

You have so many incredible women who love your designs -- I know Kendall is the face of this particular collection -- what is it like to have those women in your life?
It's so amazing because they inspire me so much, they are so strong, and they're the Balmain Warriors. But they're also my friends. So I feel like it's a family that we are building, our big army, and I'm proud that they are part of it because they're a big support, and they help the world understand my vision. They're a really big support, they're my warriors.

You have this huge social following, how has your social audience reacted so far to just even seeing the photos so far of what the collection will be?
People are excited! I think people just can't wait. They're proud and they're thankful, because there's so many followers that follow me who can't afford the real Balmain, so they get to have a piece of the dream. It's so nice to feel like they're enthusiastic and so happy to get it. ​

Olivier Rousteing and his Balmain army.
Olivier Rousteing and his Balmain army.

Do you have a memory of one moment when you saw someone wearing one of your creations on the red carpet that was like your big "Wow" moment?
My big wow moment, I'd have to say, was the first time that Rihanna came to my studio. It was not a red carpet moment, but it was a moment where she came to my studio and she just loved the clothes, she was trying them on and having fun, dancing and twerking in my dress! This was the moment in my life that I will always remember. A memory for life.

Click through the gallery below to see the collection as it went down the runway in New York City!

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Originally published