Olivier Rousteing is embarking on his first foray into make-up with Balmain's Colour Riche Lipstick line for L’Oréal. The designer – whose success with the luxury French fashion house knows no bounds – presumably has had his pick of offers from within the world of beauty, so why choose L’Oréal?
"The Balmain girl and the L’Oréal girl are very similar," he tells us. "We believe in the same things. We believe in strong women, in diversity and in the next generation, but at the same time, we both also believe in couture and luxury. I also think of L’Oréal as a brand that is all about personality and confidence and that very much aligns with our message too."
Rousteing is extremely passionate about this message of confidence and power, which is the reason it was lipstick he chose to create first: "It is all to do with expression. Lipstick is all about the lips; expression is all about the mouth. This is a woman who is not afraid to say what she thinks."
"Buying a Balmain for L’Oréal lipstick is buying a piece of Balmain"
The aesthetic and message behind Rousteing's lipstick line clearly matches his collections for Balmain – the unexpected colours and bold designs are very much aligned with what he sends down the catwalk – and the designer found that the process of creating make-up didn't actually differ that hugely from his usual day-to-day job.
"In the beginning I thought it would be really difficult, but by the end, I didn't find that to be true," he says. "When you are a designer, you are looking at proportion and shape, it is all about getting the perfect balance – and with lipstick, it's the same, it is about balancing everything to get the perfect shade. Sometimes it takes ages to get a dress right and sometimes it takes ages to get a lipstick right, but at the end of the day, it's the same goal – we are attempting to create perfection to the highest level."
Of course there were challenges in the process, namely that he wanted to make sure his message of diversity and inclusivity was delivered. He says he wants every woman in the world to be able to find something they love in the 12-piece collection: "No matter your age or your colour, I wanted you to be represented in this line".
Achieving true inclusivity of course is a challenge when designing for a luxurious fashion house like Balmain, whose price points are beyond what most people can even dream to afford. Creating make-up – in the same way as his collaboration with H&M did – helps to democratise the brand.
"Balmain is an incredible luxury brand, but it is not affordable for everybody. Having said this, so many people love the brand – particularly millennials – and this will give them an opportunity to be a part of it. Buying a Balmain for L’Oréal lipstick is buying a piece of Balmain."
Aside from being able to reach more of his following and spread his positive message of diversity further, this collaboration is also very personal to Rousteing and he is quick to emphasise how much working with such an iconic brand like L’Oréal really means to him: "I grew up watching their campaigns in the '80s and '90s, some of which I will never forget. To be part of this story makes me feel really proud of my country, of my work and of the person that I am today".
The L’Oréal Paris x Balmain Paris Colour Riche Lipsticks will be available from Harvey Nichols UK in-store and online from the 1 September and available nationwide from the 25 September. Each lipstick is priced approx Dhs62