Cara Delevingne and Oliver Rousteing the creative director of luxe Parisian fashion house Balmain, have recreated one of the best album (and subsequent Rolling Stone magazine cover) covers of all time, Janet Jackson’s, ‘Janet’.
The pair have replicated the famous cover for Balmain’s spring 2019 campaign which is part of a photo series that Rousteing says “references all the iconic album covers of the Nineties, which were big pop culture moments of our childhood.”
However, there is a much more serious reason behind the photograph.
For Oliver however, it wasn’t just about recreating ‘90s album covers in the name of fashion. There was a deeper sentiment attached to the images for the designer who told WWD, "The campaign shows the reunion of two skin tones, one black—or mixed race—and one white," and “Choosing to pose naked was all about authenticity."
An extremely relevant issue in the current political climate, this hits very close to home for Oliver who shared this powerful anecdote with Vogue last year, “I was adopted by a white family,” “People used to ask my parents how they could adopt a black kid and they would call me a bastard to my face, so I’ve seen racism; I’ve experienced it.”
One of the youngest designers to take over the ‘creative director’ helm (he was only 25 years old when he took over from Christophe Decarnin at Balmain) Oliver’s political potency carried on to the Cannes Film Festival last year when he dressed 16 actresses from the film My Profession is not Black.
He expressed, “I think we are really at a huge turning point in every industry, whether film, or fashion, or music. We are living in a world where we are trying to break from the past and define what we want from the future. I believe in the power of women, I have since I was a little boy, and this moment means a lot to me.”
A force to be reckoned with, Rousteing isn’t just known for dressing celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Scarlett Johansson, Gigi Hadid and Beyoncé, but also for standing in solidarity with minority and under-represented groups.
As for his decision to use Cara in this photo series, Oliver says: "I love her so much that I don’t want to see any clothes on her. Her gaze is so strong and magnetic, it’s nearly an item of clothing in itself."
A catalyst for progressive change in the fashion industry, we hope to see more designers follow in Oliver’s footsteps.