For the Autumn 2024 collection, Balmain’s creative director Olivier Rousteing drew inspiration from the sapeurs, a group known for their unique blend of sharp French tailoring and vibrant African motifs, adhering to the Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Elégantes’ stringent style edicts. This dynamic fashion movement, which emerged in the 1960s, has since become a prominent feature on the streets of Kinshasa, Paris, and Harlem, and now serves as the defining influence for Balmain’s latest menswear line.
In a parallel vein, Rousteing pays homage to a century of African-American musical heritage, referencing icons like Tony Jackson, whose distinctive sleeve-garters are echoed in the collection, and the influential Tin-Pan Alley composer, recognized for setting the standard for pianist attire in the early 1900s. The collection also tips its hat to the ascent of hip-hop, with elements like durags and metallic grills making a statement.
The collaboration with Prince Gyasi, a Ghanaian visual artist renowned for his work on Balmain’s Petit-Prince Fall 2022 campaign, further enriches the collection. Rousteing handpicked a series of Gyasi’s “hyperchromatic masterpieces” from his photography in Accra, Ghana, and translated these vibrant visuals onto a range of sophisticated outfits.
Gyasi expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership, stating, “When Olivier reached out about this collaboration, I didn’t hesitate. I was all in. Through our extensive conversations over time, I’ve come to understand that Olivier and I share a profound bond and a unified vision. Perhaps it’s because, regardless of our achievements, both Olivier and I are seemingly fated to always stand apart from the mainstream.”
Rousteing’s vision for the forthcoming season’s Balmain Man is informed by a wealth of international influences, crafting a wardrobe that positions the Balmain Man as a trendsetter who bridges the gap between the fringe and the fashionable elite.