Balmain’s new concept store opening in Milan’s fashion district, Via Montenapoleone, was an event not to be missed. The French fashion house incorporated technology and fashion in an enticing and creative way; shoppers were invited to wear Oculus VR headsets to experience a virtual world and metaphoric journey with the brand.

Balmain x VR

Balmain’s Creative Director, Olivier Rousteing, created the virtual experience to trigger all of the emotions he feels throughout the creative process of a new collection. “I wanted to make sure people are in my brain”, he said, “I want them to discover my feelings”.

The VR headsets were personally designed by Rousting but unfortunately, his ‘Balmain Army’ will not be able to walk away with there own high-fashion headset just yet (next season’s must-have accessory?) The VR experience dubbed “My City of Lights” explored Balmain collections and with an immersive look at the process.

“All my own sketches, I was doing them around me in 3-D”, Rousteing told Vogue. “It’s a new way of approaching fashion, it’s exciting”. The fashion house has indicated they will take their VR experience to other Balmain stores after the immediate success of the Milan opening. Unless a Balmain store miraculously opens in New Zealand, we, unfortunately, will not be experiencing high fashion virtual reality anytime soon.

Balmain has been at the forefront of incorporating technology into fashion as we saw last year with the store opening at Melrose Avenue. The Californian store opening unveiled a custom headphone collection for Beats by Dre. Rousteing is adamant that the integration of technology within the fashion industry is here to stay and is readily embracing it.

“You know me, for seven years at Balmain I’ve been loving French classicism and tradition, but at the same time I’m part of the click generation”.

Although Balmain is notoriously appealing to the younger ‘click’ generation, other large fashion houses are tapping into the extent in which technology can be used. Recently, Dolce & Gabbana used drones to replicate models in their AW 2018 show. While British designer, Vivienne Westwood, has axed traditional runway shows altogether in favour of a digital presentation in a bid to make her brand more environmentally conscience.

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