Style
Where the runway meets the street

If there’s one thing Balmain designer Olivier Rousteing has (as well as enviously-chiseled features), it’s famous friends. Rousteing loves to bring all sorts of mega-famous mega-celebs into the fold (remember the beyond-star-studded Balmain x H&M campaign?).

Now, the Parisian house that Rousteing leads is linking with Beats By Dre for a set of high-end headphones with some equally high-end prices. Naturally, Rousteing enlisted one of his mega-famous friends to front the collab’s campaign. Kylie Jenner can be seen channeling the spirit of Balmain’s so-called “urban safari” in the photo set above.

There’s two models dropping in the Balmain x Beats By Dr. Dre collab: the Studio Wireless ($599.95) and the in-ear Powerbeats3 Wireless ($249.95). Each model comes in two colorways — dusty pink and military-style khaki. The collection release today — July 19.

We caught up with Olivier via email to get the lowdown on the design process behind Balmain x Beats by Dre.

You’ve done collaborations with other huge brands (i.e.: H&M). How does the process of collaborating with an audio brand differ from that of fashion brands?

I really enjoy pushing myself. Accepting new challenges, focusing on new things to learn are what keep me and my team challenged and feeling alive. That’s why I recently photographed my most recent campaign, and that’s why it’s always intriguing to receive offers to work on something other than the traditional ready-to-wear products that people expect to find me to be working on.

Within the last year, we have re-launched Balmain’s accessories line, worked with l’Oreal on beauty line and collaborated with the Opera de Paris on the costumes for a beautiful ballet–and I loved every single second of those projects, just as I loved working with Beats on these headphones.

I believe that we only truly grow when we challenge ourselves, when we learn new things, when we push ourselves outside of our comfort zone.

You recently came out with your first accessories and jewelry line. Is there a similar process between designing headphones and other accessories, or is it completely different?

The design process and procedures are quite different for each collection, of course—the challenges, materials, techniques are very unique for each product. But everything my team and I work on shares many similar attributes. For both collections, above all we wanted coherence—you need always to recognize the unique Balmain DNA and the style I’ve imposed on the house over the last few years.

We always refer back to key moments, styles, techniques from both our archives and recent collections. You can spot those same influences in everything we do—whether it’s a collaboration for Beats, a new accessories collection, a line of eyeglasses or the most recent men’s or women’s collection

Is there a certain element of the design that you’re most proud of?

It wasn’t always easy, but working closely with the Beats team, we were able to make sure that these headphones clearly channel the style and spirit of the house. Matching the gold to the tone that I’m accustomed to use on the runway was such a challenge—but the Beats team was so patient and smart—they let me play and experiment until we all agreed that we had the best gold tone possible. Seeing how well that turned out and knowing all the work that went into that one element makes me proud.

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