Last week, Balmain presented its Spring/Summer 2023 collection during Paris Fashion Week at the Stade Jean Bouin, and the showcase, as you may already know, came with several highlights, including a surprise appearance by global icon Cher, and some unforgettable pieces crafted using environmentally-conscious elements like banana peels and raffia. One more factor that made the collection exciting was that it marked a very special collaboration between the French fashion house and the Middle Eastern label Okhtein.
“We are both thrilled and excited to be collaborating with Olivier Rousteing and Balmain for their SS23 collection,” shared Aya and Mounaz Abdel Raouf, co-creative directors and co-founders of the Egyptian luxury handbag label. “Our first encounter with Olivier was back in 2019, when he was one of the judges at the Fashion Trust Arabia. We look up to him on so many levels and truly love his genuineness and passion for what he does.”
Presented right in the middle of Paris Fashion Week, Balmain’s runway show featured a unique piece that was lovingly worked on by the brand, which counts Gigi Hadid, Queen Rania, Beyoncé and Chanel Iman among its loyal fans. The piece in question was a statement-making bustier crafted from worn-out resin. Cairo-born sisters Aya and Mounaz focused on the inspiration behind Olivier Rousteing’s latest show—the rebirth of the Renaissance, a concept that shows how ancient masterpieces can be adapted to modern times—while conceptualizing the bustier. The result? A one-0f-a-kind piece of wearable art, which looked like it had been moulded from Egyptian alabaster. The bustier also came with edgy-cut-out detailing, and was styled with a brass bangle, and the ancient Egyptian postiche.
For Aya and Mounaz, it was imperative to make Okhtein’s much-loved snake brass bangle a part of the look, to bring elements of the old and modern world into one concise look. “This piece was the most challenging project for both of us, however we found it as an opportunity to push ourselves as designers and product developers. We are grateful for our team and for the factories we work with, for bringing this piece to life,” they shared. “We are excited to be showing a little piece of our brand and its story. Coming from Egypt, a country of rich heritage and history, the story combining both our vision and Olivier’s has been a truly wonderful experience.”