Olivier Rousteing and Balmain Collaboration with Netflix and Farfetch

olivier-rousteing-and-balmain-collaboration

Limited-Edition Luxury Clothing and Accessory Capsule Collection launched November 3, coinciding with the global release of The Harder They Fall on Netflix

From Olivier Rousteing:

For some reason, it seems to always surprise Americans when they realize just how much we Frenchies know and love their popular culture. But once they think it through, they understand that it’s only natural—in France, we grew up with the same list-topping tunes, videos, series, films and books that they did. And just as all those blockbusters and best-sellers have moved and inspired countless Americans, they have had that same effect on this side of the Atlantic, as well—for example, more than a few of Balmain’s runways have referenced some of America’s most iconic creators and creations.

So, just like everyone else, everywhere else, I spent a lot of my childhood watching American Westerns. I have such great memories of sitting in front of the TV, watching the legendary films with my parents. Those Southwest American locations might have been far from Southwest France, where I grew up—but the greatest Westerns tell stories that are not limited to a time or place. They focus on the same intriguing and universal messages, questions and themes that are found in the myths and stories that have been told all across the world, for thousands of years. That’s what’s behind their incredible, long-lasting power.

Universal, yes, but at the same time, many of those famous movies were tragically limited by narrow-minded prejudices of the time. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I learned that the Westerns of my youth projected images that were often far from the reality of the 19th-Century West. Those films, with their all-white casts, ignored an incredible history, where one third of American cowboys were black—many of them newly freed slaves who had headed west in hopes of a better life.

That’s one of the reasons why I am so grateful and excited for the upcoming release of Netflix’s “The Harder They Fall.” Jeymes Samuel has created a uniquely compelling and modern Western, helping to give the genre a much-needed push forward with their embrace of both historical truths and modern film-making techniques. Their enthralling story is strengthened by the type of extraordinary soundtrack that you’d expect from a Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter production. And, of course, I’m happy to see that among the many strong black leads are powerful and fascinating female characters.

God, how I would have loved to have had access to stories like this during my youth!

So, you can understand why I am so happy that I was allowed to play a small part in this production. I was asked to design a few pieces, which have been masterfully integrated into the fantastic overall ambiance that the very talented Costume Director Antoinette Messam created for the film.

But, to tell you the truth, I wanted to do much, much more. So, I was thrilled when “The Harder They Fall” team asked me if I’d be willing to push it a bit farther—which is how we ended up deciding to partner on a special limited-edition Balmain-The Harder They Fall Collection, directly inspired by the spirit of this groundbreaking Western. The men’s and women’s ready-to-wear and accessory designs meld the film’s bold look with the expected audacious finesse of a Balmain runway. I think that this capsule collection’s fringe-and-suede spirit will look just as at home when worn by Balmain Army members on the avenues of Paris as it would on Nat Love, Rufus Buck, Stagecoach Mary and Trudy Smith in the beautiful open spaces of the American West.

While this may be Netflix’s first luxury fashion collaboration, this partnership actually builds upon a long and unique Balmain history. Ever since its earliest days, this house has partnered with cinema. Pierre Balmain loved using his designs to help tell stories. He created the costumes for a multitude of ballet and theatre pieces, and he was responsible for the wardrobes of over fifty European and American studio productions. And while doing that work, our founder seems to have had no fear in pushing back against the conventions of his time. For example, while other Parisian couturiers refused to dress a young Brigitte Bardot, due to fears that their aristocratic clients might be uncomfortable seeing house designs on “a vulgar display on the screen,” Pierre Balmain was more than happy to create outfits for some of that star’s most iconic roles.

Today, we continue Pierre Balmain’s distinctive legacy of always pushing boundaries. My team and I know that fashion—even from a historic Parisian couture house like Balmain—is only made more relevant when it becomes more accessible via an integration with today’s most compelling stories and music.

A massive thank you to Netflix, Jeymes, James Lassiter, Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter and the entire “The Harder They Fall” team for bringing this incredible story to all of us—and I am beyond honored that they allowed me to play a part in this moment.