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Cult male model Tony Ward joins the Balmain Army

Olivier Rousteing casts Ward in his SS17 campaign alongside Gabriel Aubry and Jon Kortajarena

Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing loves the old-school models – you know, the classics. Take his SS16 campaign, for example, which featured Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell. His Steven Klein-shot SS17 ad, unveiled this morning, also features another model of this ilk: Tony Ward. He got his break in the 1980s when Calvin Klein cast him in one of his iconic and very sexy campaigns, photographed by Herb Ritts. Ward dated Madonna, played a leading role in Bruce LaBruce’s 1996 film Hustler White and continues to model to this day. 

In this campaign, the male modelling icon stars alongside fellow industry giants Gabriel Aubry and Jon Kortajarena, along with female supes Doutzen Kroes, Isabeli Fontana and Natasha Poly. The images were shot on a Californian highway – but it was important for both Rousteing and Klein that the place was not recognisable. They wanted the location to be “stripped back to the essential” because that’s what the designer feels his SS17 collection was like.

“That essential includes, of course, music,” says Rousteing, shedding some light on the megaphones and speakers in the campaign. “For me and my generation, music is simply inseparable from fashion. Those who know Balmain will recall that it has played a key part in the house’s previous campaigns – whether the focus was placed on today’s artists themselves or on a shared creative collaboration with them.”

These artists include hip hop legends Kanye West and Rihanna who have not only starred in the house’s campaigns, but been a crucial inspiration for the designer. Music and pop culture more generally have been a way for him to communicate his vision to the masses.

Head to the gallery above to see more images from the campaign.