Being a “black boy in a really important French house,” as Olivier Rousteing, creative director of Balmain, calls himself, most likely comes with a whole lot of pressure. Pressure to perform for the brand, yes, but also pressure to be representative and diverse. In his latest campaign for the historic fashion company, the 28-year-old designer put diversity on a pedestal and cast five ethnically diverse models alongside Cara Delevingne.
It’s a sharp turn from the last major Balmain campaign featuring Rihanna, but this one packs a more important social punch. Showcasing four black (Ysaunny Brito, Jourdan Dunn, Binx Walton, and Kayla Scott) and one Asian model (Issa Lish) alongside Delevingne depicts the reality of modern cities, Rousteing said to Women’s Wear Daily, and elevates the “beauty of different ethnicities.”
We’re always on Team Diversity here at StyleBlazer and love that Rousteing chose to support fashion’s diversity movement in this way. The ad, shot by Mario Sorrenti, is the type we would have pulled out of magazines and stuck to our wall back in the day; hopefully today’s young teens will recognize that beauty comes in all colors (and sizes, for that matter, but that’s a different story) and see the ad for the beautiful statement that it is.