#HMBalmaination – a Review

The time has come. The Balmain x H&M collection is finally here. After months of speculation, the final products are available, and the best part is, you can purchase the pieces. This is perhaps the most hotly anticipated fashion collaboration of 2015, and it is not difficult to see why. Over the past few weeks, the collection has been revealed slowly to the public eye with stars such as Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, and many others, spotted in pieces from the collection at launch parties. The promotional video released only a few days ago, further fuelled anticipation. The entire collection can now be found for viewing online and Olivier Rousteing, Instagram lover, has not failed to fastidiously take to his favourite social media platform to remind the world that the collection is on the brink of arrival.

The collection does not disappoint, compromising of over one hundred different pieces, many of them with obvious Balmain-esque touches. The price range goes all the way up to $500 USD, especially for the heavily embroidered pieces. Though it might seem pricey, this is definitely a bargain, given the workmanship of the intricately patterned designs that accompany the price tags. The best deal for those on a student budget who cannot bear to miss out on the collection is probably the classic white Balmain T-shirt. It is almost uncanny to the mainline Balmain T-shirt, and save for material differences and a slightly altered cut, this is one piece to invest in, after all, one can never have enough white tees.

Increasingly, there have been more of these high-fashion-high-street collaborations, which see head designers of top luxury brands lending their artistic talent to high street brands, such as H&M, for capsule collaborations between the two fashion companies. Like most things in life, and especially in the opinionated world of fashion, such collaborations have gotten their fair share of compliments and condemnation. All of the collaborations thus far have been major cash cows. The revenue generated by the collaborations both from the actual sales and the publicity makes it obvious why such collections continue to be churned out each year. Conversely, the condemnation is derived from the belief that such collaborations dilute the exclusivity of luxury brands and could potentially come back to bite the big brands which participate in such collections. However, whichever side of the camp you might be more inclined towards, there is no doubt that for the greater majority of buyers, such capsules are a cause for celebration. Moreover, such collections often allow for greater creative freedom; though designers normally pay tribute to their luxury fashion houses, they have a wider scope to explore and design to suit the different clientele.

“Rousteing is quite the visionary and it is no wonder the collection with H&M is one of the most anticipated of the year – the designer is a true artist”

There can be no doubt that Olivier Rousteing definitely enjoyed working on this particular collection. For a man who has taken by the fashion industry by storm with his youthful vigour and unquestionable talent both on and off the drawing table, his passion was no less apparent in this collaboration, which garnered him praise from numerous others working for H&M. Rousteing is an atypical designer. Adopted at the age of 1 by a couple living in Bordeaux, France, he entered law school but stayed for only a year. He then transferred to a fashion school in Paris, but the lacklustre environment left him frustrated and yearning for more. He left for Italy to intern under Roberto Cavalli, where he eventually was made a designer. Then in 2009, he joined Balmain, and in 2011, at the tender age of 25, he was announced as Balmain’s creative director. Being a relative unknown was not the only factor that surprised most people, Rousteing is also of mixed origin, and this generated a great amount of attention when he was initially announced as creative designer of a ‘traditional’ French brand. A campaigner for greater racial equality within the industry, Rousteing has been very outspoken on his views towards greater racial inclusion in all areas of fashion. This is reflected most in his the ambassadors he chooses for the brand, such as Kim and Kayne West, Rihanna and Jordan Dunn. Rousteing is quite the visionary and it is no wonder the collection with H&M is one of the most anticipated of the year – the designer is a true artist.

Check out the collection here!

Claire Elizabeth Seah

Image Credits: H&M

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