Balmain x H&M – The Highly Anticipated Fashion Collaboration

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On November 5th of this year, H&M began offering its shoppers a taste of high-end French couture for a fraction of the price. Thanks to the collaboration between Olivier Rousteing, Balmain’s creative director, and the team behind the affordable fashion clothing store H&M, the runway designs, for many, will now be within reach. This decision between the two companies was announced last spring and is now finally coming to fruition. The preview of what’s to come from the partnership debuted on the evening of Oct. 20, 2015, in the form of a highly anticipated celebration, and it has everyone talking.

Rousteing credits his own desire as an early twenty-something man lusting after the top-notch ensembles on the catwalk as the reason he so readily replicated pieces from previous seasons for his staggering 1.4 million fans to purchase in H&M stores—and that’s just his following on Instagram. Now just a late twenty-something, this talented 29-year-old designer has taken the fashion world by storm. His youth, edge, and fresh take on fashion have drawn in a crowd of sorts, endearingly referred to as the #BalmainArmy. And it’s easy to understand why his clothing is so coveted, especially when viewing the stellar compilation of Balmain’s latest runway looks shared by Lyst.

According to Vogue, the recent October release party and runway debut was a spectacle to behold. From a dance routine reminiscent of Rousteing’s personal past, to the glamorous, jewel-toned and jewel-encrusted pieces, to the surprise performance by the Balmain x H&M clad Backstreet Boys, the celebrity fete was a fun-filled evening that didn’t disappoint. With famous brand backers, like the Kardashians, and three of the top fashion industry it girls—Kendall Jenner, Jourdan Dunn, and Gigi Hadid—strutting down the catwalk, Rousteing has carved out a beneficial place to be in terms of his fan base.

Furthermore, Rousteing’s designs are being described by top magazine Vanity Fair as “aggressively sexy,” with their “bold shoulders, wasp-like waistlines, and hemlines up to there.” And although it seems gender-neutral design is what is being accepted most affectionately by the press, the masses outside of the fashion industry, and even those outside the realm of the Hollywood elite, are singing his praises for such sultry and gender-specific designs. It seems as though Rousteing has a mind of his own and with his finger on the pulse of the latest trends, his trailblazing firestorm of fastidious fashion shouldn’t be flickering out anytime soon.

With the vast selection of glittering party dresses, rich, textural velvety fabrics, elegantly flowing viscose trousers, hand sewn embellishments, and everything lovely in between, here’s to hoping Balmain, and now Balmain x H&M, will be able to cater to the masses. Perhaps even one day he could become a true household name as an everyday wardrobe staple. So whether you choose to admire beautiful designs from afar, splurge on top-of-the-line fashion, or prefer to swaddle yourself in affordable luxury, Balmain promises to have something to delight all of its fans as the luxury clothing company and H&M celebrate the start of a very beautiful friendship.

This is a guest post.

BOE Magazine

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How Unexpected Collaboration Can Enhance A Brand’s Authenticity

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CMQMY6fVAAAgpH3The uncomfortable moments are where the magic happens.

Imagine you’re a musician, and you’ve been asked to come to a conference as a member of an exclusive club of other artists, creators and (gulp) CEOs and CMOs of banks, clothing companies, tech behemoths and more. Doesn’t seem like the most comfortable place to be, does it?

Surprisingly, PTTOW! has created an environment where these people and brands collaborate with unprecedented success.

PTTOW! stands for People To Take On the World, and its members are doing just that. From C-level execs at companies like GoPro, American Express and Spotify to talents like David Blaine, Questlove and Steve Aoki, the brands, artists and leaders that make up this exclusive group are more than kind of a big deal. They’re huge.

At the end of October, its members congregated in New York City for SESSIONS — a new platform that brings brands, media, creators and artists together to create more impactful partnerships that better reflect and engage the audience and fandom that love and surround them.

In SESSIONS, all walls were down, all minds were open and all members were challenged to get out of their own heads – their own comfort zones – and find a way to make the world a better place through more meaningful collaborations.

According to John Kirkpatrick, PTTOW!’s CMO, what makes SESSIONS so special is “the sheer diversity of people and industries that come together in a way that’s more open than anything.”

The direction marketing and branding is headed has changed the way business occurs and how artists and creatives get involved, yet Kirkpatrick feels that advertising hasn’t caught up fast enough. “You can’t just sustain yourself with what’s been done before,” says Kirkpatrick. “Any entertainer, creator or artist with any brands and media – if you look at how things have been done, it still feels like it’s happening like it did in the hay day of TV and what existed 50 years ago.”

Kirkpatrick says he wants to raise the bar higher and inspire the room to come together and realize so much more can be done.

“What if you took a really big idea, and [asked] how do you build supergroups (of people from various industries) and put them in an environment where everyone feels comfortable? Everyone in this room doesn’t need help connecting with each other, but all companies almost become beholden to their own strategies. The consumer doesn’t have that delineation. How do you crack the code so that these brands can get out of their own heads and better connect with consumers?”

The biggest disconnect, in Kirkpatrick’s opinion, is not that brands don’t understand strategy, rather they aren’t approaching it from a deeper perspective of why a fan becomes a fan.

“How often do collaborations really mirror what the fan is looking for?” The dialogue between a brand  or creator and the fan or audience, you have to mirror where the culture is.”

The solution? Kirkpatrick believes that “brands and media companies need authenticity — a real connection to someone’s life that empowers both themselves and their peers.”

Granted, we’ve all heard “brand authenticity” over and over. Kirkpatrick even admitted himself that the word has saturated the marketing industry. Yet the reality is more people interact with more stuff than they ever have. What brands and business have to do is figure out why and how those interactions occur. Only then will an audience feel truly connected to the brands or artists it admires.

Yet too many brands often fail to ask these crucial questions and use the answers to create more meaningful content. According to PTTOW!’s CMO, “If you can take a step back and start to recognize where the actual passion and emotion is created, how it’s created and how it spreads, you can create a hell of a lot better objective, strategy or business initiative than by simply realizing ‘we need to connect with people.’”

If there’s any magic to what PTTOW! is, it’s that it “brings people together in a format, a platform that feels open and engaging and unexpectedly serendipitous,” says Kirkpatrick.

Based on what I saw and heard, PTTOW!’s magic is real.


Personal Branding Blog – Stand Out In Your Career

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