The French luxury design house Balmain collaborates with Beyoncé for a truly contemporary couture collection

Olivier Rousteing, the creative director of Balmain, found himself listening to Beyonce’s recently released Renaissance on repeat during the course of last summer. “I was sketching and sketching as I listened, and sometimes you can’t control the emotion of your sketch. And I started to imagine the sketches inside her album, how they would relate to the songs and the lyrics – it wasn’t something I was supposed to be doing but I was just inspired by the music to do it. And that’s how this started.”

After that experience, he reached out to Marni Senofonte, Beyoncé’s stylist, and openly expressed his desire to collaborate on a couture collection with her. Both Marni and Beyoncé were enthusiastic about the project.

Over a period of five months, Rousteing has therefore been collaborating with Beyoncé and Senofonte to bring his musically inspired sketches to life. Their initial focus was to narrow down the 50 or so sketches to a playlist of 17. They then worked together to transform the remaining sketches into a fully realized Balmain x Beyoncé couture collection.

The collection takes inspiration from Van Duysen’s archives and features his typically pared-back aesthetic, prioritizing intentionally simple forms and materials. In fact, the objects in the collection are designed to be timeless and versatile, intended to be repurposed throughout one’s lifetime as an antidote to throwaway culture. Van Duysen‘s own approach to dining and hosting informed the collection’s versatility, with objects designed for both intimate and large gatherings. According to the designer, this new chapter in the collaboration is a celebration of conviviality and a slower, more balanced way of life.

“I can’t help but be thrilled by the history-making aspects of this collaboration,” Rousteing said. “This appears to be the first time that a Black woman has overseen the couture offering from an historic Parisian house. And those designs were created in partnership with the first Black man to ever oversee all the collections at an historic Parisian house. Let’s hope those two firsts help inspire plenty of others. Thank you, Beyoncé,” he continued, “for creating the infectious, joyous music that launched this journey – and for partnering with me to ensure that we designed the collection that perfectly reflected the power of those compositions.”

Take a look at the collection here: