Balmain Reveals CGI Models Have Joined The #BalmainArmy

Step aside Gigi and Kendall there’s a new breed of models in town

Every season luxury French fashion brand Balmain debuts a new set of campaign faces to join the ranks of their so-called ‘Balmain Army’. Past and current army recruits include all the freshest, most in-demand faces like Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Victoria’s Secret alumni Jourdan Dunn.

However, 32-year-old Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing, who joined the storied house in 2009 bringing a much-needed fresh perspective to the label, is not the kind of designer to rest on past successes or keep rolling out the same formula season after season.

Instead, Rousteing is renowned for his forward-thinking, inclusive contribution to the fashion landscape and his latest move is a case in point. Balmain has revealed three CGI models have joined the #BalmainArmy, creating a new ‘virtual army’.

The new virtual Balmain army has two custom CGI models and a third, Shudu, who already has a high profile in fashion and beauty circles thanks to her creator’s clever use of social media – back in February Fenty Beauty reposted an image of Shudu wearing their lipstick, which of course, went viral.

Balmain’s two new virtual army recruits, Margot and Zhi, were, according to Refinery 29 created by the same fashion-photographer-turned-CGI-artist, Cameron-James Wilson, who created Shudu.

Speaking to Refinery 29, the 32-year-old designer said, “I created the virtual army in the same way that I’m creating my collection. I’m really obsessed with music and what I really love about it are the icons,” which reportedly influenced how Margot and Zhi turned out.

Rousteing said Chinese CGI model Zhi’s short, cropped hair is “very rock ‘n’ roll” and her look references pop icon David Bowie, “She’s the one pushing the agenda that David Bowie did in the past.”

Margot is “the French girl of his childhood dreams” and exudes high glamour like another of the designer’s favourite rock icons, “Tina Turner”.

Rousteing’s move into using AI models in his campaign is seen as a positive, inclusive masterstroke, with a statement on the Balmain website saying, “Anyone and everyone is always welcome to join Balmain Army’s growing ranks – they need only share our bold spirit of adventure as our new virtual icons, Margot, Shudu and Zhi who mirror the beauty, the rock style and the confident power.”

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