Balmain has introduced a new gang of supermodels—but, they’re not real. This season, creative director Olivier Rousteing has opted for a “virtual army” of digitally manufactured models to wear his newest collection.
“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 confident power,” says Balmain’s official website.
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The lifelike models were created by photographer Cameron-James Wilson, who famously created Shudu in 2017. The clothing is “styled” by CLO Virtual Fashion, which creates hyperrealistic, 3D garment simulations.
Shudu is known as the “world’s first digital super model.” Her Instagram page has almost 140,000 followers, and she’s already been featured in campaigns for Fenty Beauty and editorial shoots for Women’s Wear Daily and Cosmopolitan.
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The popularity of virtual models is definitely on the rise. Lil Miquela, a character created by Trevor McFedries and Sara Decou as a digital art project, has over 1 million followers on Instagram and models high fashion looks, along with promoting multiple charitable organizations to help bring awareness to their causes.
Earlier this year, Rousteing created “My City of Lights,” which is a virtual reality experience and headset to help people understand his creative process. In a promo video for Balmain, he says he wanted to help “bridge the gap between fashion and technology.”