Olivier Rousteing, the creative director of Balmain, and NikeLab have unveiled a new collaboration, the “Football Nouveau”, collection to mark the UEFA Euro 2016 tournament to be held in France next month.
Rousteing, who has played football since he was a child, said of the collection: “Fashion is usually about the catwalk and the glamour, but with Nike it was about performance and the athletes. What I love about this collection is that we are integrating the iconic style of football into sport style.”
The collection features menswear and womenswear, as well as footwear, and is entirely black and gold – a play on the “X OR” name for the line (“OR” being Rousteing’s initials but “or” is also French for gold). It features a number of new innovations such as the embroidered pattern woven in Nike’s trademark “Flyknit” shoe, which is a first.
Another Nike classic, the N98 Jacket has also undergone a transformation at Rousteing’s hand to reinvent the “off-pitch look of football”. Both the men’s and women’s versions feature gold framing and an embroidered woven crest placed over the heart, which is the traditional location for football teams’ crests, while the women’s version is also designed to be worn either as a dress or a jacket.
Rousteing said he considered the lifestyles of professional football players who will be competing in the Euro 2016 tournament as inspiration. The collection is “designed to meet off-pitch performance” needs while pushing the sport’s aesthetic forward.
“Olivier was obsessed with the complete look, making sure each piece worked together — not just within the men’s and women’s collections, but also between the two,” confirms Jarrett Reynolds, NikeLab Senior Apparel Design Director. “At every design review, he’d ask, ‘Would a football player really wear that?’ That question helped keep the collection rooted in sport.”
Items from the collection will be available from 2 June from the Nike website and in NikeLab stores. The Euro 2016 tournament starts on 10 June.