Balmain has recently opened a new store in New York City, at 650 Madison Avenue. The store features a gallery space visible from outside, to highlight the work of artists and the house’s collaborations, before opening up into several smaller rooms dedicated to different aspects of the Balmain universe, the decor pitched somewhere between gilded Paris salon and the kind of upfront gloss that New York has always done so well; a glance at the gleaming reflective interiors gives more mirror action than you’ll currently see at the Studio 54 show at the Brooklyn Museum.
Days before his spring 2021 show, Rousteing spoke via email about the opening, the reinvention of the P-B Balmain monogram that Pierre Balmain himself launched to celebrate his own NY store in 1970—there are a couple of new limited edition BBuzz bags in that very motif—and why Rousteing, long a fan of the city, still has New York on his mind
Rousteing added Yes, today we are facing some big challenges and concerns. And it’s not just a pandemic. In fact, we’re facing a multitude of enormous issues that we have all avoided dealing with for way too long. But I’m optimistic. My personal story itself makes very clear that change and progress is possible. Someone like me wasn’t supposed to end up in the position that I ended up in—me, being here, now—it shows that change can happen, things can improve.
But there’s a long way to go and the need for us to fight for true change becomes more and more obvious every day. That need and desire for change is the message that I see on the streets now and believe in. There’s a new generation that is aware of our power and our possibilities and that’s why we see that empowering diverse mix on the street, pushing for overdue changes. They give us all hope.
While preparing for our new Madison store we started exploring the look of our first American address, which was in the same neighborhood and which opened 50 years ago, in 1970. That space held a special carpet that Pierre Balmain designed, relying on an entwined “p” and “b”. And Pierre Balmain seems to have really liked the look of his design—he brought it back to Paris for the revamp of our Paris flagship [at 44, rue de François Premier].
Balmain is fully owned by Mayhoola, directly controlled by HRH Sheikha Moza, mother of the Emir, former First Lady.