Balmain has just released a preview of the label's Spring 2014 campaign, photographed by Inez & Vinoodh and starring Balmain superfan Rihanna. The ads are an effective showcase for both the pop star's smoldering gaze ("In front of the camera, she makes you feel like she is the only girl in the world,” is how designer Olivier Rousteing put it to WWD) and the collection's cool, shiny hardware.
The campaign takes a lot of risks which mostly pay off, but the final product still has an odd, disconnected feel. Why pay all that money to hire one of the world's biggest superstars for your ad campaign, and then choose photos where her hair's in front of her face? Same goes for the neoprenesque pink bathrobe thing Rihanna's wearing in one of the photos: Like, what? Is that a single outfit or are those two separate pieces? Either way, the look (mostly) works for the campaign, but it still doesn't seem necessary.
But the creative team's weirdest choice probably comes down to the set and concept: Shooting a high-glam fashion ad in a stark white, tiled steamroom is a fantastic idea, but it's been done. As shanhuq pointed out in the forums, Balmain's Spring 2014 campaign set looks a lot like the backdrop in Balenciaga's Fall 2011 ads, photographed by Steven Meisel.