Balmain Partners with Pokémon for A Special, Limited-Edition Collection
For over ten years, Balmain’s Creative Director Olivier Rousteing has been surprising the fashion world with his distinctive vision and imaginative choices. Building upon the bold legacy of house founder Pierre Balmain, who audaciously introduced the legendary “New French Style” over 75 years ago, Rousteing consistently startles with unexpected silhouettes, colors and messages—key ingredients of his singular “Renewed French Style.”
In particular, Rousteing has sought out unconventional collaborators—partnering with imaginative creators that share the designer’s outlook and daring. Today, the house is happy to announce the latest of those collaborations: a limited-edition Balmain partnership with Pokémon.
Surprising as the pairing may be, it does make perfect sense—for Balmain and Pokémon share an uncommonly bold and adventurous outlook. Like Balmain, Pokémon sets itself apart by its constant evolution and embrace of new technologies, while always buzzing with a uniquely addictive energy and color. In addition, just as Balmain is celebrated for its always-growing Balmain Army, Pokémon celebrates its millions of “Trainers” around the world who are always ready to embark on journeys in the hopes of collecting, training, and battling an ever-increasing number of Pokémon.
“Pokémon’s bright pop aesthetic and captivating creatures have always appealed to me,” notes Olivier Rousteing. “Today, they make me think of an earlier, simpler time, when we all shared a rosy vision of all the positive changes that we were certain that digital innovations would make possible. And that’s a key reason why I’m so happy to partner with Pokémon on this collection—because, right now, we could all use a reminder of those past moments of hope and optimism.”
“Balmain is an iconic fashion house that continues to capture the world’s attention with its inspired designs and elevated creativity,” comments Kenji Okubo, President of The Pokémon Company international. “Pokémon has been a key driver of the cultural zeitgeist for more than 25 years and the key to our success has been our ability to drive innovation. In Balmain we found a partner that shares our values and alongside them we have been able to create something truly special that crosses the physical and digital worlds with fashion.”
Much of the new Balmain x Pokémon collection plays with new spins on familiar Balmain signatures, including the house’s familiar slouched hoodies and sleek sneakers, as well as its mesmerizing Labyrinth pattern. The Labyrinth—a maze-inspired motif that was originally designed by Pierre Balmain over 50 years ago—makes very clear its chameleon-like adaptability, as it pops up in several different iterations across the collaboration’s many offerings. There are also several new takes on iconic designs that were first introduced on Balmain’s Paris Fashion Week runways—with each offering slightly adjusted to reflect the Pokémon aesthetic, while never veering away from the famously exacting standards of Balmain’s ateliers.
Olivier Rousteing and his Balmain design team have also been inspired by Pokémon’s bold colors and bright iconography. Sweats, jackets and oversized tops and bottoms cleverly channel the bold graphic treatment that one immediately recognizes as Pokémon — and many of the accessories are inventive hybrids of Balmain’s signature bags and Pokémon illustrations.
And, of course, a Balmain x Pokémon partnership could not be complete without the inclusion of a compelling digital adventure. That’s why this collaboration offers an additional, one-of-a-kind ingredient, created in partnership between Balmain and SharpEnd. From September 5th , 15 distinct Balmain x Pokémon NFC-enabled badges will be available for in-person purchase at nine different Balmain boutiques in America, Europe, and Asia as well as at Balmain’s retail partner Stadium Goods in Chicago. Those special badges will permit exclusive access to an exceptional Balmain x Pokémon experience, filled with a range of digital content and extraordinary prizes, including VIP tickets to the upcoming Balmain Festival during Paris Fashion Week and immediate access to the Balmain Fashion set in Pokémon UNITE.
Fans of Pokémon UNITE, the strategic Pokémon team battle game developed in partnership with TiMi Studios, can unlock the BALMAIN Fashion Set Trainer fashion item for free by logging into the game for seven days between 07:00am UTC on September 2nd 2022 until 23:59pm UTC on September 30th.
Additionally, fans who purchase one of the BALMAIN x Pokémon Patches can get a digital code to instantly unlock the BALMAIN Outfit Set Trainer fashion items for free using the Gift Exchange menu in-game.*
“After we had all downloaded the Pokémon UNITE app, well, I think every member of my team got a little addicted to that game,” notes Olivier Rousteing. “I guess that is no big surprise, since we all fondly remember the original games from so long ago. Playing the game at the same time that we were designing the special Balmain-Pokémon badges and jackets that Pokémon UNITE Trainers can unlock added to the fun—and I’m really looking forward to having more time for the game, once the craziness of Paris Fashion Week is over.”
Pokémon UNITE is available to download for free on Nintendo Switch systems and mobile devices. For more information about Pokémon UNITE, please visit Pokemon.com/Unite
*Promotion not available in China