I love her so much that I don’t want to see any clothes on her,” Olivier Rousteing has said of the face – and body – of Balmain’s spring/summer 2019 campaign: Cara Delevingne. “Her gaze is so strong and magnetic, it’s nearly an item of clothing in itself.” And so, for her second turn modelling in the French house’s ads, Delevingne appears nude.
In one Dan Beleiu-lensed image, she reclines in front of a large “B” – a reworking of Pierre Balmain’s branding that Rousteing reimagined in 2018. In another, the creative director himself strips down. Standing behind his friend, in what he told WWD was “an unforgettable moment in their close friendship”, he recreated the 1993 Patrick Demarchelier photograph of Janet Jackson posing naked save for her then-boyfriend Rene Elizondo’s hands. The portrait, which was part of the singer’s artwork for her album Janet, and went on to become a Rolling Stone cover, was “a big pop culture moment of our childhood,” said Rousteing.
The 33-year-old Frenchman was keen to point out that although “the campaign images are very sensual, there is nothing flirtatious about them.” And, that the messaging is not about ’90s nostalgia, but inclusivity. “The campaign shows the reunion of two skin tones, one black – or mixed race – and one white. Choosing to pose naked was all about authenticity. We’re going back to basics: I wanted something pure and transparent.”
The campaign drop follows Rousteing’s revival of the brand’s couture division and the launch of the Balmain app – which he hopes will democratise fashion – and precedes the launch of the label’s new flagship on Paris’ Rue Saint-Honoré. Rousteing hinted that amidst his grand plans to move the brand forward, this would not be the last time we see Delevingne.
From British Vogue