New Fashion Ad Represents Being “A Black Boy In A Really Important French House”

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640memo-balmain01Photo: Courtesy of Balmain.
Olivier Rousteing’s appointment as creative director of Balmain in April 2011 signaled progress for the industry. “[A] young biracial man, a black man, standing at the tippy-top of the fashion pyramid in France — or, for that matter, Italy or the United States — is a rarity,” wrote Robin Givhan at the time. And, "Rousteing has been asked to be caretaker of a French brand that was established by Pierre Balmain in 1945. French fashion — French history — has been placed in his hands.”

With his fall ads, he brings the house up-to-date (and touches fashion’s sorest spot). The campaign’s diverse cast, captured by Mario Sorrenti, includes Ysaunny Brito, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Issa Lish, Binx, and Kayla Scott. According to Women’s Wear Daily, Rousteing “said showing ‘the beauty of different ethnicities’ reflects the reality of modern cities like Paris and his own boundary-breaking situation: being ‘a black boy in a really important French house.’” Most modern city-dwellers aren’t wearing metal-hook embellished leopard-and-leather coats sans shirts. But, points taken and applauded. (Women’s Wear Daily)