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April 21 2014

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Rihanna Gets Under the Balmain Umbrella

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Rihanna for Balmain

Rihanna for Balmain

“It was heaven,” said Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing of shooting with Rihanna. The pop star is the face of the house’s Spring ’14 campaign, two images of which debut exclusively here. But Rousteing, who spoke to Style.com from Paris this morning, insists the ads weren’t the result of a PR push or a marketing strategy—rather, they were the product of he and Riri’s budding friendship. “I met her six months ago, when she came to the studio during her Diamonds Tour, and I just loved her,” the designer recalls. “She invited me to her concert, and I invited her to my show, and she started to become a good friend of mine. Obviously, we text all the time, and at one point, when I was working on the Spring collection, I told her she was the inspiration and that I wanted her in the campaign. It all started like that.”

Styled by Rihanna’s own stylist Mel Ottenberg and lensed by Inez & Vinoodh, the ads, which will hit magazines in January, were apparently shot to the tunes of Prince. “We listened to it super loud, and she was dancing in the clothes—but she really owned them. She tweaked everything. She chose what she wanted to wear, she had a great vision, and that’s what I love about her,” Rousteing said, stressing that he feels Rihanna is the ultimate icon for this generation. “I wanted the campaign to be about Balmain, but I didn’t just want a model—I wanted a strong, real woman in the clothes. For me, Rihanna is a power. And she pushes boundaries on everything.

“Sometimes,” Rousteing added, “fashion is all about a big machine. And we forget about emotions, and realness, and dreams. But dreams do come true, and this came from something really simple, and easygoing, and real.”

So what’s Rousteing’s favorite Riri song? “I have to be honest. I love the new one, “Monster,” but I think “Stay” is one of the best songs ever. I fell in love listening to this song. And that’s something I’ll always remember.”

Photo: Inez & Vinoodh

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