BALMAIN: LIFE IN THE DREAMHOUSE
BY: KAIA KELLY & STONE LEE
It's a Barbie girl in a Balmain world. The French high fashion house has officially entered the Dreamhouse, ready to breach the next fashion frontier: the world of toys. The Parisian label has long been known for its maximalist glamor, a uniquely Balmain look captured by its distinct blend of opulence, sophistication, and novelty. However, young high fashion prodigy, Olivier Rousteing, took charge of the company's design team in 2011 with the intention of reimagining the label with the modern woman in mind.
The Balmain-Barbie collaboration was one of the first to come out of the year 2022, immediately making headlines. The instant draw of this unlikely high fashion duo is the merging of two entirely different product lines: clothing and toys. The Balmain sales demographic, when compared to the Barbie sales demographic, could not be more different, which left audiences dying to see how Rousteing and his team could successfully market this product line. It wasn't long before the 50-piece Barbie-inspired collection dropped and took the internet by storm. Audiences raved over the effortless fusion of fashion in the Dreamhouse, while some even speculated the collaboration signaled the official breaching of the next fashion frontier: the world of toys. In addition to the sellout looks, Rousteing made sure that this "new fashion frontier" was keeping up with the times. Each and every look was inclusive of all races and genders, therefore making his high fashion lookbook accessible to an array of individuals across the globe.
The high fashion collaboration was one of the most highly anticipated crossovers of the year, and the drop definitely did not disappoint. The myriad of pinks and blues no doubt convey the sparkle and spunk of the Barbie dreamscape. Rousteing successfully designed the collection's palette to effortlessly navigate soft blushes and powerful neons, which upheld Balmain's bold fashion sense. Rousteing tells Balmain, "For this collaboration, we are building upon the new New French Style of Balmain's most recent collections, once again showing that Balmain is inspired by the truly diverse and exciting beauty found on today's Parisian boulevards and avenues. This collection also rejects any arbitrary gender limitations— this is an almost 100% unisex collection. For, just as today's Barbie makes clear, there's nothing holding us back anymore!"
Furthermore, Barbie and Balmain also released three unique NFTs alongside their collection. Essentially, NFTs are non-fungible tokens that cannot be replicated, which creates value in the pieces. This is historic, especially for Barbie, as it is the first time the brand has released an NFT presentation. The decision to release these tokens with their collection is due to what the CMO of Balmain, Txampi Diz, believes to be the next social media as "it is going to completely change the fashion industry." This ideology is what makes this collaboration so successful as they are taking a new approach to their marketing strategy by incorporating these digital advancements proving their modern relevance. Following these technological incorporations, this collaboration focused on inclusivity for its wait main marketing strategy. Rousteing quotes that this collaboration is a part of "the New French Style of Balmain's most recent collections" that "rejects any arbitrary gender limitations." Through their almost 100% unisex pieces and their clear representation of different races and ethnicities within their fashion models, advertisements, and NFTs, their focus on not only including diversity but celebrating it within their marketing strategy is what has kept the Barbie brand relevant for the past 50+ years.
Ultimately, the Balmain x Barbie collaboration was arguably one of the biggest in 2022, both in terms of financial statistics and the boundaries that they were able to break through. Not only was this collaboration unique due to the cross-industry partnership, but also through their innovative and inclusive marketing strategy. When two of the world's most iconic brands collaborate, there is no doubt that fans from both followings will be ecstatic. While both brands are seemingly dissimilar, their core principles of timelessness and inclusivity are what made them such an enjoyable collaboration and undeniable success.