BALMAIN X H&M  — On Tuesday night, fast fashion giant H&M and Balmain designer Olivier Rousteing will host a runway show and afterparty to formally debut the results of their one-off collaboration — Balmain x H&M — an accessibly-priced collection of more than 100 pieces for both men and women, set to go on sale in select H&M stores around the world, as well as online, on November 5th. By now, it’s become something of a tradition for H&M to stage an annual event in New York to launch its latest designer collaboration, typically complemented by a news-making musical guest. Last year, the unveiling of Alexander Wang x H&M came with a performance by Missy Elliott. In 2011, Versace x H&M pulled both Prince and Nicki Minaj.

This year, as usual, rumours are swirling about which pop star will join Rousteing on stage at the old JPMorgan Chase bank on Wall Street. (H&M says that the venue will include a two-storey runway and platforms “strategically placed for surprises throughout the evening.”) But there’s no doubting every moment of the event will be meticulously documented on social media by the audience of roughly 1,000 attendees. After all, Balmain’s runway show attracted more engagement on Instagram during the recent Spring 2016 season than any other, according to the social media platform. Rousteing, who was appointed creative director of Balmain in 2011, has focused intently on connecting directly with his digital fans. An active Instagram user with over 1.4 million followers of his own, the designer acts as a gentle general to what he calls his ‘Balmain Army,’ the senior ranks of which include the Kardashians and Gigi Hadid. “I want everyone to know they are welcome in the Balmain world,” Rousteing told BoF. “Balmain is a luxury label of expense and exclusivity that only a few can afford, but I also believe that fashion should be inclusive.”


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