The Balmain x H&M army came, saw, and conquered — leaving only bare hangers in its tracks.
Designer Olivier Rousteing’s women’s and men’s capsule collection for H&M officially went on sale in about 250 H&M stores across the world and online on November 5, and the entire collection effectively sold out within mere hours (if not minutes, in some cases).
The edgy collaboration between the boundaries-pushing Parisian design house and the fast-fashion retailer has become nothing short of a pop-culture phenomenon, taking the fashion world by storm and garnering endless buzz since it was announced in May. So it comes as no surprise that a sell-out was in the cards. Talk about Balmain mania.
Even though the Balmain x H&M pieces are already a fading memory on store shelves, having vanished into fast-acting fashionistos’ closets, we still have so much love for this capsule collection. Here’s why you should, too.
1. We love the in-your-face style
Rousteing is a provocative, young force to be reckoned with on the fashion scene — and his designs reflect that status. An edgy rocker sensibility mixed with a military mood dominated the Balmain x H&M men’s capsule collection, where sartorial decadence reigned supreme. A trendsetting, tailored selection of strong silhouettes manifested in sharp officer’s coats, embellished blazers, embroidered striped sweaters, skinny pants, and high-top sneakers, mingled with more style-forward pieces like jumpsuits and double-breasted, epaulet-enhanced tops. A striking red leather biker jacket was a major head-turner, too.
So, even though you may not be able to own a piece of the action, you can still be inspired by the richness, attitude, and energy of the effortlessly cool style. It’s never too late to add some rock-star spirit to your wardrobe, after all.
2. We love the high-low fusion
The Parisian house of Balmain is at the pinnacle of French luxury, which makes the collaboration with Swedish, fast-fashion giant H&M all the more compelling. It’s the ultimate melding of high fashion and high-street style at a more accessible price point. “With its mix of couture spirit and street-wear attitude, Balmain owns a unique style, at once opulent and direct, sensual and energetic,” said Ann-Sofie Johansson, creative advisor at H&M. “The label is also closely linked to the show business and music worlds, which adds another element of surprise.” Balmain plus H&M is nothing short of a perfect match.
3. We love the resemblance to Balmain proper
One glance at the Balmain x H&M collection, and the keenly attuned fashion eye will automatically see that it closely reflects Rousteing’s original work for Balmain. This is not a watered-down imitation by any means. While the fabrics, materials, and construction have been modified to accommodate an H&M-friendly price point, the pieces still have all the integrity of the luxury brand’s stylistic edge in spades. “When you wear Balmain, you feel powerful, like a warrior of the world,” said Rousteing. “Balmain is about tradition and technique but also youth and the new generation.” One thing’s certain, that spirit is definitely still alive and well in the Balmain x H&M collection.
4. We love the hashtag
From the time the collaboration was announced in May, H&M and Balmain have invited fans to join a movement of togetherness through social media: the #HMBalmaination. There’s nothing like a hashtag to fully illustrate the modern vibe of the collection. “I want to talk to my generation: this is my main purpose as a designer. H&M allows me the unique possibility of bringing everyone into the world of Balmain, getting a piece of the dream and creating a global #HMBalmaination: a movement of togetherness, fueled on a hashtag,” said Rousteing. “The collaboration felt extremely natural to me because everybody can connect with the H&M brand. It calls for unity, and I am all for it.” And, yes, we love his sartorial enthusiasm, too.
5. We love that eBay still can save the day
If you are completely crushed that you missed the boat on snagging a piece of the action, then eBay could still offer a life jacket for you — literally. We found a bevy of Balmain x H&M jackets up for sale, and there will likely be only more items that pop up soon. Yes, you’ll pay dearly for them. But can you really put a price on this monumental style marriage between these two trendsetting labels? No, we think not. Happy fashion hunting.