Olivier Rousteing: H&M line reflects me

Olivier Rousteing has promised he is bringing an element of couture to his H&M line.

The Balmain creative director is the latest in a long line of designers to team up with the high street retailer. His collaboration was confirmed at the Billboard Music Awards in May, when Kendall Jenner and Jourdan Dunn gave a sneak peek of pieces from the collection, which is due out on November 5.

Now Olivier has spoken about what was essential to him when he was designing it.

“It’s a bit of a challenge. But it’s really, really important for me to keep my identity. It’s been a lot of work on the fabric and the techniques because when they were saying, ‘What is Balmain for you?’ I said, ‘It’s couture, it’s couture, it’s couture,'” he told Paper magazine. “But couture isn’t only about embellishment; couture is the amount of hours you’re going to work on the fitting, on the tailoring of the jacket to make it perfect. We obviously switched some fabric and some techniques, but we worked so much to give people the DNA of the house. I wouldn’t have done this collaboration if I couldn’t give my identity.”

Olivier sees his clothes as armour which help women prepare for the battle lying ahead. He describes the Balmain label as feminist, explaining it will always be about how powerful females can be. This is why he favours strong women as muses, people like Jennifer Lopez who appeared in the magazine’s shoot alongside him.

The designer has no problem working with celebrities and believes they are inspiring a whole new generation. What he likes about music in particular is how inclusive it is, especially when compared to his own industry. Fashion houses are frequently criticised for showing a lack of diversity on the runway, with Balmain one of the few who regularly casts models of all races.

“Because they’re not living in the real world,” he said simply, when asked why other label don’t follow suit.

“I think the music system is way more open-minded and way more diverse. Fashion people sometimes forget that, except for the front row that you’re going to get at your show, there’s an entire world that loves fashion. So it’s important for me and for Balmain to show the diversity because it’s also about the luxury of communication. And you don’t communicate for just ten people in the room during a show; you communicate to an entire world.”

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