Leave it to Balmain to create the first army of models of its kind! Olivier Rousteing has created one of his vastly popular armies only this time the army is of the virtual kind. The digitally manufactured models modelled Balmain’s pre-fall 2018 clothing, while the website flaunted this army with an inclusivity empowering message welcoming these models on board.
“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 confidant power,” Balmain’s official website was quoted.
Created by photographer Cameron-James Wilson, the life-like models are not exactly new, well at least not all of them. Known as the “world’s first digital super model” Shudu was created in 2017 and she created quite the stir at the time with her insane life-like features that would make it difficult to set her apart from us humans. Shudu has been featured on a number of huge campaigns such as Fenti Beauty as well photo shoots for Cosmopolitan and Women’s Wear Daily. Rousteing reached out to the photographer to help create the two other digital models; Margot and Zhi. According to Rousteing, Zhi is modelled after a Chinese version of David Bowie and she’s aiming for an edgy rock and roll look. While Margot is inspired by French beauties conjured up from Rousteing’s childhood memories.
Not only were the models digitised, but the styling as well…. the clothing was styled using 3D garment simulations by CLO Virtual Fashion. Rousteing says that he wants to bridge the gap between fashion and technology and as further proof he also created “My City of Lights” earlier this year which is a virtual reality experience aimed at helping people grasp the creative processes behind Rousteing’s thinking.
It is clear that the popularity of digital models is increasing but to what extent and till when we cannot quite judge as this is tricky ground. True digitally-created models are very flexible to work with and they can be used to bring awareness to certain charitable organisations as in the case of Lil Miquela, who was developed by Trevor McFedries and Sara Decou, Miquela now has over 1 million Instagram followers. But could this trend signify a taking over of digitally created and manipulated models or is it a momentary fad! And what about the mega-influential capabilities of real life models, would virtual models be able to compete with real-life models on the ground? I personally feel that this will be a slow shift in the near future if not being a complete fad but then again I could be completely mistaken in this fast moving world of ours.