Cara Delevingne is the new face of Balmain and in her latest campaign for the brand — her second one for the fashion house since her first in 2014 — the focus is more on the model than on any clothing. Taking a page out of Jacquemus' fall 2017 playbook, which featured zero clothing, Delevingne appears completely nude in one of the images, lounging in front of a giant "B."
In another, she and creative head Olivier Rousteing recreate an iconic topless photo of Janet Jackson from 1993, which ended up being the cover for a Rolling Stone issue. In the original, Jackson stands in jeans with her then-boyfriend Rene Elizondo's hands used as a makeshift bra, captured by Patrick Demarchelier as part of the artwork for Janet. (At the time, Rolling Stone ended up opting to use Demarchelier's photo instead of doing their own shoot with the singer.) Delevingne and Rousteing's rendition of the classic is somewhat less mysterious; you can see the designer's head peeking out from behind Delevingne.
Rousteing paid homage to Jackson when sharing the spring 2019 campaign photos, shot in black and white by photographer Dan Beleiu. "Iconic 🙏🏽🙏🏿🙏🏾🙏🏼," he wrote in the caption of an upload of Jackson, adding "I LOVE U #newcampaign" when sharing the ones of Delevingne.
“It references all the iconic album covers of the Nineties, which were big pop culture moments of our childhood,” Rousteing told WWD of the inspiration behind the series, adding that “The campaign shows the reunion of two skin tones, one black — or mixed race — and one white."
For Rousteing, the decision to have Delevingne go nude "was all about authenticity." "We’re going back to basics: I wanted something pure and transparent,” he explained. “I love her so much that I don’t want to see any clothes on her. Her gaze is so strong and magnetic, it’s nearly an item of clothing in itself... The campaign images are very sensual, but there is nothing flirtatious about them. Cara has such a strong presence and personality: we chose a pared-back set to let her gaze and the lines of her body do the talking.”