Cara Delevingne’s collaboration with Balmain and Puma dropped yesterday, and to celebrate, she and her friend Olivier Rousteing, Balmain’s creative lead, held a party in Hollywood.
In addition to the two years it took to bring the partnership to market, Delevingne and Rousteing had an immediate reason to be happy: after less than 24 hours live, many of the collection’s pieces (like chunky black sneakers with gold hardware, tees with playful dueling puma motifs, and a very Balmain-esque skintight dress) had sold out on Puma’s website.
From a vaulted annex at Milk Studios’ Los Angeles outpost, Delevingne and Rousteing were sipping champagne, both battling a bit of jet-lag (they had each arrived that day, Rousteing all the way from Paris). But adrenaline was keeping them going. They were almost even snuggling; you could tell they’re quite close. They’ve known each other since the former was in the ascendancy of her modeling days and when the latter was appointed to his role at Balmain in 2011 at the age of 24 (a groundbreaking achievement; Rousteing has been a major figure in Paris’s fashion industry diversification).
“I think I did your first show,” Delevingne says. “I don’t remember exactly, but at that time in my life, I don’t remember a lot of what I did.”
“I don’t think you did the first show,” Rousteing counters.
“I thought we knew each other so well!” Delevingne jabs.
“I think the best earliest memory I have of us was after a night out in Paris,” Rousteing says. “Cara told me something that I still remember very clearly. She said, ‘you know what, you need to trust yourself more, and you need to love yourself more.’ This was in 2014 or 2015.”
“So, you inspired confidence in each other?” I venture.
“That’s it! You’ve fucking nailed it,” says Delevingne.
Delevingne has become a champion of individuality—and not compromising it for anyone, or anything—as her career has grown. She is now an actress, a model, designer, businesswoman and more. For years, she has had “embrace your weirdness” (or some iteration of the phrase) on her Instagram bio. She has 44 million followers (Rousteing, himself, is one of the few fashion designers with a 7-figure follower count, clocking in at 5.7 million).
Their collaboration—while recognizably Balmain in terms of its sexiness, color-palette and font—is Puma-fied in that there’s a sporty undercurrent and a much more accessible price point.
“She called me on a Sunday afternoon,” says Rousteing, regarding the nexus of their idea. “She said, ‘I want to fight against myself. Two Cara’s.’ And then we decided on a boxing ring and a boxing theme, because it's contained, but you have spectators. And when you have people looking at you all the time, you are not necessarily free, so it became about the power you can get from that.”
Delevingne adds: “I liked the idea of looking at it through a man’s world, a sort of lens. Conflict. But conflict can be anything—and ultimately, it’s all in your head. I remember we were then in a meeting, and I was like, ‘great, that’s the idea, so what does it look like? Here you go, good luck!’”
They both laugh, relaxing into their seats, gearing up for the night’s performance—an art piece boxing-slash-interpretive-dance hybrid—which would soon follow.
“Cara is beautiful,” Rousteing says, eyes sleepy. “But her mind is more beautiful.”
“Aw! You think I have a sexy brain?” Delevingne asks, spirited as always.
Rousteing nods, then concludes, “What I am saying is that her ideas are so strong. When you do something with her, it is far beyond putting Cara in front of a camera.”