"Balmain Embleme" Spring 2023 Ad Campaign

Review of Balmain “Balmain Embleme” Spring 2023 Ad Campaign by Creative Director Olivier Rousteing with Photographer An Le with models Adot Gak and Luz Pavon

Balmain finds a new setting for its bold reinterpretation of French classics with the debut campaign for its new Embleme bag. The campaign was shot by photographer An Le.

Shooting on (perhaps a bit confusingly) an NYC rooftop, Le’s portraits put the elevated riff on the classic tote bag shape front and center while also drawing energy out of the unmistakably Balmain styling and the monumental energy of the city skyline.

While the photography and especially the styling across the campaign are quite strong, the decision to shoot it in New York – and so conspicuously at that – feels like a confusing one. Through the design of the bag itself as well as the outfits with which it is paired, we can see that Balmain is leaning into its character of offering a boldly contemporary take on a legacy of French style. Framing it with the instantly recognizable skyline of Manhattan, then, confuses the thrust of this idea. Why not shoot in Paris?

Nonetheless, the imagery still feels striking – perhaps we are meant to take away that the bag can provide its wearer with a bit of contemporary Parisian chic no matter what city they find themselves in. While that still feels a bit indirect and unnecessary, there’s no denying that these looks have loads of style.

Balmain Creative Director | Olivier Rousteing
Photographer | An Le
Models | Adot Gak, Luz Pavon
Hair | Gonn Kinoshita
Makeup | Hung Vanngo
Location | New York, New York

Senior Fashion Writer | The Impression