Creative Director for Balmain, Olivier Rousteing, is known for having a Balmain Army. This has included the likes of Kim Kardashian-West, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Gigi and Bella Hadid, and many other top supermodels. However, Balmain has recently released a new gang of supermodels, and these ones are not real.
Rather, Rousteing has gone for a “virtual army” of digitally manufactured models to showcase his newest collection. While these models may appear real at first glance, taking a closer look, it will become apparent that they are just digitally created. “Anyone and everyone is always welcome to join Balmain army’s growing ranks — they need only share our bold spirit of adventure as our new virtual icons, Margot, Shudu and Zhi who mirror the beauty, the rock style, and the confident power,” says Balmain’s official website.
Photographer Cameron-James Wilson, who famously created Shudu in 2017, created these lifelike models. Shudu was the “world’s first digital supermodel” and her Instagram page boasts 140,000 followers. Moreover, Shudu has been featured in shoots for Women’s Wear Daily, Cosmopolitan, and Vogue Australia. Meanwhile, the clothing on the lifelike models is “styled” by CLO Virtual fashion. This software creates hyperrealistic, 3D garment simulations, which has allowed Balmain’s “virtual army” to come to life online.
Rousteing is known for his desire to bring the French fashion house to the forefront of the digital age, and he uses edgy styles to do so. “We need to change. We need to push boundaries. We need to talk to the new generation. We need to make fashion relevant,” he said in a video for the New York Times.
Balmain is hoping to “bridge the gap between fashion and technology” and, earlier this year, the virtual reality experience named “My City of Lights,” was created by Rousteing to help people understand his creative process.