Disney And Balmain Celebrate The 30th Anniversary Of "The Lion King"

Joel Anderson, photographer
Joel Anderson, photographer

Disney And Balmain Celebrate The 30th Anniversary Of "The Lion King"

Disney x Balmain: The Lion King collection, an offering of ready-to-wear designs and accessories for men and women, finds inspiration in Africa's artisanal traditions, while celebrating a new generation of African talents

PARIS, PRNewswire -- To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Academy Award®-winning Walt Disney Animation Studios' classic "The Lion King" and the upcoming theatrical release of "Mufasa: The Lion King" in December, the Disney x Balmain: The Lion King collection was released across the globe on July 8th. For the limited-edition offering, Balmain Creative Director Olivier Rousteing and his team have created a collection of ready-to-wear pieces and accessories for men and women. The striking designs build directly upon Disney's acclaimed storytelling, as well as the powerful themes and unforgettable cast of characters that distinguish Disney's "The Lion King." This collection marks the first collaboration between Disney and the historic French fashion house.

"Working on this collaboration was a dream come true," notes Rousteing. "I was only nine years old when "The Lion King" was first released, but still today, almost three decades later, I only need to close my eyes to replay that incredible mix of music, images and emotions. The lessons that I absorbed, as I sat, absolutely transfixed by what was happening on the giant screen in front of me, have remained with me for my entire life."

The collection incorporates key ingredients of Balmain's DNA. While guiding the house for the last thirteen years, Rousteing has consistently riffed on three essentials: a deep reverence for Balmain's singular heritage, a passion for the incomparable savoir-faire of Parisian couture, and a willingness to build upon intimate reflections about his own distinctive voyage through life. Signature Balmain silhouettes and the impressive embellishment and tailoring skills of the house of Balmain are evident throughout this limited-edition offering. In addition, there is a clear continuation of Olivier Rousteing's examination of his personal biography, reflected in his fascination with the brilliant creativity that sets apart African craft and artistry, a theme that has notably marked his Paris Fashion Week runways since the discovery that his birth parents were originally from Somalia and Ethiopia. Africa's stunning weavings, mesmerizing patterns, intricate embroideries and striking silhouettes continued to be strong inspirations for Rousteing and his Balmain design team, as they worked on this collection.

This collaboration also shines a spotlight directly upon a new generation of young African talents. Both Disney and Balmain are proud of their long traditions of championing emerging artists and this new collection builds upon that shared history, introducing a grouping of fresh and appealing visions to a global audience. South African painter Nika Mtwana created a compelling Afrofuturistic portrait for the collection—cleverly managing to incorporate a scene from "The Lion King" into his work, via a reflection on the lens of his subject's sunglasses. Rousteing adapted Mtwana's design into the colorful prints that cover some of the limited-edition collection's tees, tops and dresses. Cameroonian painter Enfant Precoce's concentrates on Disney's Simba, with his artwork showing "The Lion King" star navigating through a dreamlike landscape filled with an array of African wildlife. Precoce's design—in an array of black-and-white and multi-colored variations—covers totes, coats, suits, tees and gowns. South African painter Cassius Khumalo relies on a striking mix of vivid blue, deep black and gold-foil to create an eye-catching portrait of Disney's Nala, the film's strong and independent lioness. Khumalo's powerful image has been adapted for a series of totes, tees and hoodies.

The collection is showcased in a short film directed by Femi Oladigbolu and produced by Disney in collaboration with Balmain. Shot at different locations in South Africa's Western Cape province, the film seamlessly weaves together impressive natural beauty and the striking silhouettes, patterns and colors of the new collection, as it follows a Rousteing-led Balmain Army, composed of 30 models from all across Africa, making its way through stunning landscapes before arriving at a joyous homecoming celebration.

"That statement really says it all for me," explains Rousteing. "It is, of course, a key theme of "The Lion King." It also explains my design process at Balmain, where I constantly reference the house's extraordinary history. But, more personally, it reflects my own long search for answers about my origin. And that's why returning to Africa to work on this film was such an incredibly moving experience for me. It released that same wave of emotions that I experienced when I first viewed "The Lion King," all those many years ago—for, as you can imagine, watching that solitary lion cub construct his own unique and chosen family, while searching for truth about his heritage, hit me, an adopted child, particularly hard."

The Disney x Balmain: The Lion King collection is available online at Balmain.com and across the globe at Balmain addresses and the world's leading fashion boutiques.


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