BALMAIN X H&M: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
You’ve seen the photos, read the articles and (hopefully) made a shopping plan. Balmain x H&M is heading your way – here are the facts and numbers behind the hotly anticipated collection.
It was in December 2014 that the H&M design team first travelled to Paris to meet with Olivier Rousteing and his co-workers at the legendary French house Balmain. Rousteing was well prepared for their first meeting and presented a clear vision of the collection he wanted to create in collaboration with H&M. He had hung dozens of Balmain pieces in the room, made many sketches – and afterwards allowed the H&M team to borrow items from his personal wardrobe to bring to Stockholm for inspiration. The H&M design team packed suitcase after suitcase with exquisite Balmain gowns, jackets and accessories, and – when arriving back in Stockholm – locked the valuable pieces in a safe room, which was only accessible to by a handful of H&M employees.
The reason why the H&M team brought suitcases with Balmain designs to Stockholm was to be able to come as close as possible to the original designs, since many of the items in the Balmain x H&M collection are replicas or modified replicas of Olivier Rousteing's original Balmain designs. Behind almost every item that Olivier Rousteing showed the H&M team, there was a story to tell. One example is the embroidered men’s leather jacket, which Rihanna had given as a present to Jay Z years earlier.
Because of the extensive amount of beadwork and embroidery, the Balmain x H&M collection may well be H&M's heaviest ever.
During this past spring, the H&M design team visited Paris and the Balmain house several times for fittings and meetings about qualities and materials. In late May, almost six months after their first meeting, all the pieces were determined and samples had been made. When the final collection was presented to Balmain, Olivier Rousteing was stunned by the quality and detailed works of art that had been created from his sketches and original pieces.
The final collection consists of 44 pieces of clothing for women and 30 for men. On top of that, the Balmain team has worked with H&M to create 21 accessories for women and five for men. The result is the most advanced, crafted and tailored pieces ever created by H&M. The total collection consists of more embroidery and beadwork than any collection previously made by H&M.
One of the biggest challenges with the collection has been producing large numbers of hand-embroidered and beaded items in a short period of time. Skilled sewers have done all the embroidery – and after completion, items have been controlled at several checkpoints to make sure the delicate artisanship has stayed intact. Because of the extensive amount of beadwork and embroidery, the Balmain x H&M collection may well be H&M's heaviest ever, which is why several different hangers and clothes racks had to be tested to withstand the weight of it.
At this point, you know that the Balmain x H&M collection features many firsts and is produced using advanced techniques. Another first that H&M presents with this collection is a pair of earphones. This is the first time H&M has developed earphones in collaboration with a guest designer, and the music lover Oliver Rousteing specifically requested this accessory. The accessory is made by premium earphone manufacturer Molami, and the fabric-covered cord is decorated to match the signature Balmain belts.
In November, 11 months after the first meeting between the H&M design team and the Balmain team, the collection has been developed, produced and shipped to hundreds of H&M stores all around the world.
On 5 November, these luxurious and glamorous items are finally made available to the masses.
LIMITED EDITION PIECES FOR WOMEN
These five items are made in limited quantities and will only be sold in 72 H&M stores in the world. Head to the biggest H&M store in the biggest cities if you want to get your hands on them, or just update HM.com the second the collection drops.
LIMITED EDITION PIECES FOR MEN
The leather jacket and the embellished blazer are the only men’s garments that are made in limited edition. These garments will be sold in 62 H&M stores worldwide.
BALMAIN X H&M IN NUMBERS
250,000: The number of pearl beadings on one of the dresses in the collection.
11: The number of geographical locations on the Balmain logo T-shirts.
4: The number of different shoes for women.
4: The number of different shoes for men.
3.1: The weight in kilos of the heaviest dress in the collection.