Balmain Fashions ‘The Lion King’ to Celebrate the Disney Classic’s 30th Anniversary

Ringing in the 30th anniversary of Disney’s The Lion King and preceding the theatrical release of Mufasa: The Lion King this December, Balmain has joined Disney to create a fully-fledged collection—filled with ready-to-wear and accessories for both men and women—inspired by the classic.

Designer Olivier Rousteing, who first watched the film when he was nine years old, called the collaboration a “dream come true.” He told us,

The Lion King’s entire universe is so inspiring. The scenery and characters are so beautiful in color and texture. I was inspired by the physical aspects and the story as well as the messages of destiny, heritage and resilience. Making this collection was a labor of love.”

The collection takes Balmain’s savoir-faire lens to the coming-of-age film, transforming key motifs and color schemes into Parisian high fashion. Youthful Lion King-inspired illustrations command statement-making gowns, while animal prints and fur embellishments commit to the wildlife theme on Balmain’s signature, structured silhouettes.

With Disney, Rousteing made space to spotlight young African artists across the collection. South African painters Nika Mtwana and Cassius Khumalo produced vivid film-inspired portraits for the line’s tees, tops and dresses, while Cameroonian artist Enfant Precoce illustrated Simba on coats, suits, gowns and totes.

While the line draws playful inspiration from the movie, it also continues Rousteing’s examination of his own identity—a concept that has been reflected on Balmain’s runways since the designer learned that his birth parents were originally from Somalia and Ethiopia.

“As an adopted child, I see myself in Simba—the solitary lion cub creating his own unique family while exploring the truth about his lineage,” Rousteing said. “This is the essence of resilience and heritage that I infuse into my designs for Balmain.”

Rousteing’s creations come to life in a short film, directed by Femi Oladigbolu, which sees the Balmain Army traverse breathtaking landscapes in South Africa’s Western Cape province. The shoot was especially meaningful for Rousteing, who had never been to South Africa before. “It is hard to put into words what this experience has meant to me,” he said. “I felt so incredibly inspired, grateful and grounded.”

Overall, Rousteing’s goal with this collection is simple: “by celebrating where we come from, we can clearly see where we are headed.”

Balmain’s The Lion King collection will launch online and in the brand’s stores on July 8. Notably, the windows at Balmain’s rue Saint Honoré flagship will house the full collection. Ahead of the drop. see the campaign—and an exclusive look behind the scenes—above.

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