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Balmain AW16 campaign Kim Kanye Wolves video
Balmain AW16 campaignPhotography Steven Klein

Kanye, Vic Mensa and Sia join forces for Balmain music video

In a Steven-Klein shot campaign film for his song ‘Wolves’, the rapper makes his #BalmainArmy return for the French house – along with some familiar faces

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock or have been glued to PokémonGo, you may well have seen a stream of moody black and white images flooding your Instagram feed in the last few days. Sneak peeks of Balmain’s new AW16 campaign, they feature a series of supermodels (including Alessandra Ambrosio, Joan Smalls, Sasha Luss and Jourdan Dunn) in a dark space, some with tears streaming down their faces. And then there’s the presence of Kim and Kanye – appearing in their futuristic Manus and Machina Met Gala looks.  

But rather than pictures from a straight-forward campaign, it turns out that the images are actually stills from a film shot by the legendary Steven Klein – accompanied by Kanye West’s track “Wolves”. After watching the rapper debut his album The Life of Pablo at Madison Square Gardens back in February, Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing approached West and explained that, having been moved by the song, he wanted to use it for the campaign. Kanye agreed, and in the days following the Met Gala Rousteing pulled as many members of his #BalmainArmy together for the film. There are a couple of new members, too – Vic Mensa and Sia, who both appear on the track (although the reclusive singer is present in the form of a body double). 

The film may well be the first of its kind – a campaign film that also doubles as a music video.

“Olivier, Kanye, Kim, Sia, Vic and all the other members of the new Balmain army rise up to a fusion of fashion and music,” says creative director Pascal Dangin. “The sublime beauty of Balmain, the incredible power of the lyrics, the art of the dance – It’s a collaboration in the truest sense of the word.”

Read Olivier Rousteing’s note about the campaign and watch it below.

On a chilly afternoon in early February, I was at Madison Square Garden, just as blown away as were the thousands around me – all of us hearing Kanye’s Life Of Pablo for the first time. In particular, the hauntingly beautiful Wolves made a big impression on me. From the moment I heard that song, I knew we had to use it for this campaign. I told Kanye that a few days later, when I called to congratulate him. I was thrilled when he immediately responded that he was on board and excited to see how involved he wanted to be – in addition to his music talents, he’s got an amazing cinematographic instinct.

Although I love my job, the collections and the shows can end up being a lot of hard work. The campaigns, though, are always an absolute joy to be a part of, from start to finish. This one, in particular, was a dream come true. It was shot right after the Met Ball. Pascal, Steven and I pulled together as many members of the “Balmain Army” who were in town and we spent two days creating a true collaboration—beginning with a riff on a Balmain after-party, and mixing dance, music, lyrics, photography and fashion in a new way that reflects the unique, diverse and modern side of this historic house. I couldn’t be happier with the result—or more grateful to all who played a part in its creation.

Paris

July 25 2016

Olivier Rousteing