On Tuesday, millions of people watched CBS’s annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, featuring some of the world’s most recognizable models and musicians.
While the show’s format was much the same as it is every year, a new addition came in the lingerie itself. Parisian luxury brand Balmain, led by creative director and social media savant Olivier Rousteing, collaborated with Victoria’s Secret on a special 27-piece collection, which includes bras and underwear, tops and slip dresses, bodysuits, and crossbody handbags. And less than half a day into the collection’s launch, some items have already sold out.
The clothes are marginally more expensive than your typical lingerie set at the commercial retailer, but a fraction of the cost of a Balmain item from the brand’s luxury line. The most expensive Balmain x Victoria’s Secret item — a $248 Swarovski crystal-encrusted bustier — is no longer available online. Gone too are the $98 crossbody bags, a graphic slip dress for the same price, and a $70 oversized T-shirt. (For reference, a classic Body by Victoria bra costs $49.50, and a bra from luxury brand La Perla can cost as much as $620.)
The items reflect much of what Rousteing presented during the French brand’s spring-summer 2018 runway show in October. The slip dress — a newspaper-meets-gothic-script print not dissimilar to Taylor Swift’s Reputation album cover — is inspired from a sweater (or “atelier-encrusted frayed crop tops,” wrote Vogue’s Luke Leitch). There’s more fishnet and plaid and studs than a suburban Hot Topic store (the collection was part of the “punk angel” segment of the Victoria’s Secret show). Rousteing’s Balmain collection was about excess and opulence, and this Victoria’s Secret collaboration is merely a commercial adaption of it.
“From the beginning, I wanted to make sure to keep true to my goal of bringing a Parisian atelier’s savoir-faire to the sexy positioning of VS,” Rousteing told Elle magazine.
For Victoria’s Secret, the collaboration with Balmain represents a move to “elevate” the brand, or so said celebrity-favored luxury shoe designer Brian Atwood, who exclusively designed the footwear for the runway show. But for Balmain — whose popularity is quantifiable in both Instagram engagement as well as sales — working with Victoria’s Secret means making a brand known for $2,000-plus wears accessible to the average shopper.
Accessible, that is, if you can manage to scoop up an item before it sells out online.
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