Balmain Blowout

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Last week, shoppers went crazy for Balmain in 250 H&M stores around the world.  Fashion enthusiasts camped, clawed, jumped, and screamed to get their hands on pieces made popular by Kendall Jenner, Jourdan Dunn, and Gigi Hadid.  The beaded dresses & jackets adorning top models, on red carpets this year, were the first to sell out online and in-stores.  The entire collection sold out online before H&M stores even opened on the East Coast!  H&M North America president, Daniel Kulle told WWD, “Balmain x H&M has truly exceeded our expectations.”  WWD also reported that the lines to get into stores for this collab were longer than past designer collabs for H&M.

2015 Billboard Music Awards (Taylor Swift, Chrissy Teigen, Kylie Jenner)

2015 Billboard Music Awards (Taylor Swift, Chrissy Teigen, Kylie Jenner)

Shoppers camped out hours before H&M stores opened hoping to snag signature pieces.  One early shopper, Morgan Jay, told WWD, “I’m going to fight for the embroidered men’s jacket.  That’s the main one that I want, and anything else that I can get is just a bonus.”

2015 Balmain Paris ad campaign (Iman, Naomi Campbell, Rihanna)

2015 Balmain Paris ad campaign (Iman, Naomi Campbell, Rihanna)

Although the storied French fashion house has gained recent notoriety within a new generation, Balmain first opened its doors during the “New Look” era (1947).  Overshadowed by Christian Dior’s revolutionary styling of the modern woman, Pierre Balmain did not reach the same level of stardom as Dior did in Europe.  However, Balmain’s romantic gowns were a hit in America.  Balmain is noted for dressing stars & style icons Marlene Dietrich, Katharine Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot, and Sophia Loren.

Pierre Balmain "Tulle on Taffeta" vintage evening dress

1957 Pierre Balmain “Tulle on Taffeta” evening dress, V&A Museum

Besides dressing celebrities of his time, Balmain was best known for his conservative styles for the everyday conservative woman.  It’s no surprise current creative director Olivier Rousteing desires to modernize the iconic brand with his #HMBALMAINATION and supermodel army.

Rousteing’s flashy, elaborate designs may show more skin than Balmain’s original designs showed, but inspiration is evident.  Check out classic Balmain, red carpet looks, & vintage Pierre Balmain designs below.

La La Anthony at the Black Girls Rock red carpet

La La Anthony at the 2012 Black Girls Rock red carpet

1950-55 Pierre Balmain "Silk Organza Evening Dress" V&A Museum

1950-55 Pierre Balmain “Silk Organza Evening Dress” V&A Museum

Kristen Stewart at the Snow White & the Huntsman, premiere in Sydney

Kristen Stewart at the “Snow White & the Huntsman“, premiere in Sydney (2012)

Penelope Cruz for El Pais Semanal (2012)

Penelope Cruz for El Pais Semanal (2012)

2014 VMAs red carpet (Joan Smalls, Chanel Iman, Kim Kardashian-West, Jourdan Dunn)

2014 VMAs red carpet (Joan Smalls, Chanel Iman, Kim Kardashian-West, Jourdan Dunn)

Zoe Saldana at the "Star Trek into the Darkness" premiere (2013)

Zoe Saldana at the “Star Trek into the Darkness” premiere (2013)

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I do not own the above logos, red carpet, movie premiere, ads, editorial, or runway images.  

Click the hyperlinks for sources.

For more information about the vintage Pierre Balmain dresses please visit the Victoria & Albert Museum website.

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