For those of us without Kardashian-sized bank accounts, most of Olivier Rousteing’s designs for Balmain are a tad out of reach (think $5,000 moto jackets and $3,000 miniskirts). But take a stroll through the aisles of any Zara, and you’ll find pieces that look a lot like the French label’s wares—with far more affordable price tags.
While some designers might be irked by the mass-retailer copycats that toe the line between "knockoff" and "inspired by," Rousteing is far more forgiving. The 28-year-old told The Independent that he’s happy to see Zara et al making their own versions of his ultra-luxe pieces, since it means young people with tighter budgets can get a piece of the Balmain style, too.
"I think it was Coco Chanel who said if you’re original, be ready to be copied," he said. "I love seeing a Zara window with my clothes mixed with Céline and Proenza [Schouler]! I think that’s genius. It’s even better than what I do! I love the styling, I love the story… I watch the windows always, and it’s genius what they do today. They go fast, they have a great sense of styling and how to pick up what they have to pick up from designers. I’m really happy that Balmain is copied—when I did my Miami collection and we did the black and white checks, I knew they would be in Zara and H&M. But they did it in a clever way—they mixed a Céline shape with my Balmain print! Well done! I love that".
And with that, we’ll be shopping the high street with a little more peace of mind.