Olivier Rousteing and his team designed Balmain’s Resort 2021 collection during the coronavirus lockdown, swapping images on WhatsApp and drafting in suppliers worldwide to get it made.
‘’We all worked by Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp’’, Rousteing explains. ‘’I was receiving the pieces at my place, I was having my model get and fit clothes by Skype at her place in Paris. We were choosing the fabrics by Skype or Zoom, receiving the fabrics [at our homes]… My pattern-makers were creating the dresses in their living room. I was sending them sketches by WhatsApp, after explaining what I could with my mannequin in my house… We were doing calls every three hours, because we wanted to make sure we were delivering a collection, to show the togetherness of my team and of my supply chain’’.
The timeline for presenting Resort 2021 had been pushed back, naturally. (Typically, it would debut in May.) The team moved forward with releasing a lookbook, which was photographed in Normandy, in a castle that a former Balmain employee and longtime friend of Rousteing’s is renovating to open as a boutique hotel.
Part of the reason why they shot it in the north of France versus in Paris, where the brand is headquartered, Rousteing says, came from a desire to be outside and come together (safely) after months of isolation, indoors. It was a photoshoot, yes, ‘’but at the same time, a picnic all together, enjoying the sun outside’’, he adds.
The collection was inspired by Pierre Balmain’s signature style and brand’s DNA, as well as with looks from nineties movies and shows such as ‘’Pretty Woman’’, ‘’Clueless’’, ‘’Beverly Hills, 90210’’ and ‘’The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’’, and the idea of a new and more sustainable world.
I wanted to go back to that kind of pop, hopeful world. It’s a really fresh and a happy collection, because the reality is that it was such a sad moment but at the same time, my work with fashion [has been] to bring some happiness and joy.Olivier Rousteing
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