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Olivier Rousteing’s latest Balmain collection was about staunch individuality. Not just his own, but of the fashion house he’s helmed for almost eight years now.

In a way, this collection seeks to reinforce the codes he’s established at the house, while reminding everyone of Balmain’s unique provenance.

“Balmain is known for craftsmanship, a lot of work, and embroideries, but I think Balmain it’s not as well known because we’re kind of avant garde,” says Rousteing. “We did a lot of things from those eight years, and connected to music since the beginning.”

Indeed, the soundtrack spanned various greatest hits throughout the years, from The Killers’ “Somebody Told Me,” Linkin Park’s “In The End,” and Rag-n-Bone Man’s “Human.” There were also a few covers in the mix, like Seether’s heavy metal take on George Michael’s “Careless Whisper.”

It complemented the way the collection similarly revisited some of Rousteing’s signature touches to the house. There were luxe drop-crotch velvet trousers with extremely skinny legs, bouclé jackets distressed with a rock-and-roll edge, and K-pop star worthy pieces sure to resonate with Balmain’s strong Asia market.

“I remember my first looks, my first shows when I was putting K-Pop into my show for a French luxury house,” he recalls.  “And I think it’s funny, because now I think this trend is on.”

That isn’t the only thing Rousteing says he’s been prescient on. He says he’s always been obsessed with the street, and has been bringing that connection into his garments and sneakers.

Phrases like “Your truth is not mine,” “I’m under no obligation to reply,” and “I hope (s)he likes boys”—as well as “I hope (s)he likes girls,” to keep it equal—convey a spirit of inclusivity and individuality. So too did the women who walked the runway, clad in mashed-up pieces like leather biker jackets mixed with denim.

This was the new, old uniform of the Balmain army, and since every army needs a good pair of  kicks, Rousteing answered the call with a new rendition of his Army sneakers.

According to Rousteing, he hopes they’ll help his Balmain army march towards a more hopeful future.

“I want that my sneakers look like the new ranger boots to go to fight against the world and push boundaries.”

Words by Jian DeLeon
Editorial Director

Jian DeLeon is the Editorial Director at Highsnobiety. He is based in New York.

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