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2 Jul

Disney x Balmain: The Lion King collection pays homage to Africa

“I was only nine years old when “The Lion  King” was first released, but still today, almost three decades, I only need to close my eyes to replay that  incredible mix of music, images and emotions,” said Balmain Creative  Director Olivier Rousteing who, together with his team, is releasing a limited edition Disney x Balmain: The Lion King collection.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Academy Award®-winning Walt Disney Animation Studios’ classic and the upcoming theatrical release of “Mufasa: The Lion King” in December, the collection will be released across the globe on 8 July.

For the limited-edition offering, Rousteing and his team have created a collection of ready-to-wear pieces and accessories for men and women. The striking designs build directly upon Disney’s acclaimed storytelling, as well as the powerful themes and unforgettable cast of characters that distinguish Disney’s “The Lion King.” This collection marks the first collaboration between Disney and the historic French fashion house.  

Images by: DisneyxBalmain Joel Anderson

“Working on this collaboration was a dream come true,” notes Rousteing. The lessons that I absorbed watching The Lion King as I sat, absolutely transfixed by what was happening on the giant screen in front of me, have remained with me for my entire life.” 

The collection incorporates key ingredients of Balmain’s DNA. While guiding the house for the last 13 years,  Rousteing has consistently riffed on three essentials: a deep reverence for Balmain’s singular heritage, a passion for  the incomparable savoir-faire of Parisian couture, and a willingness to build upon intimate reflections about his own  distinctive voyage through life. Signature Balmain silhouettes and the impressive embellishment and tailoring skills are evident throughout this limited-edition offering. In addition, there is a clear continuation of Rousteing’s examination of his personal biography, reflected in his fascination with the brilliant creativity that  sets apart African craft and artistry, a theme that has notably marked his Paris Fashion Week runways since the discovery that his birth parents were originally from Somalia and Ethiopia. Africa’s stunning weavings, mesmerising patterns, intricate embroideries and striking silhouettes continued to be strong inspirations for Rousteing and his  Balmain design team, as they worked on this collection. 

This collaboration also shines a spotlight directly upon a new generation of young African talents. Both Disney and  Balmain are proud of their long traditions of championing emerging artists and this new collection builds upon that  shared history, introducing a grouping of fresh and appealing visions to a global audience. South African painter Nika  Mtwana created a compelling Afrofuturistic portrait for the collection—cleverly managing to incorporate a scene from  “The Lion King”  into his work, via a reflection on the lens of his subject’s sunglasses. Rousteing adapted Mtwana’s  design into the colorful prints that cover some of the limited-edition collection’s tees, tops and dresses.

 Cameroonian painter Enfant Precoce’s concentrates on Disney’s Simba, with his artwork showing “The Lion King” star navigating  through a dreamlike landscape filled with an array of African wildlife. Precoce’s design—in an array of black-and-white  and multi-colored variations—covers totes, coats, suits, tees and gowns. 

South African painter Cassius Khumalo relies  on a striking mix of vivid blue, deep black and gold-foil to create an eye-catching portrait of Disney’s Nala, the film’s  strong and independent lioness. Khumalo’s powerful image has been adapted for a series of totes, tees and hoodies. 

The collection is showcased in a short film directed by Femi Oladigbolu and produced by Disney in collaboration with  Balmain. Shot at different locations in South Africa’s Western Cape province, the film seamlessly weaves together  impressive natural beauty and the striking silhouettes, patterns and colors of the new collection, as it follows a  Rousteing-led Balmain Army, composed of 30 models from all across Africa, making its way through stunning  landscapes before arriving at a joyous homecoming celebration. The film will be shown during the 5 July “Lion King  In Concert” evening at London’s Royal Albert Hall, featuring the Chineke! Orchestra conducted by Sarah Hicks.  Oladigbolu’s film celebrates the power of community and, as Rousteing notes, it also underlines the guiding inspiration  behind his designs for The Lion King Collection—an inspiration that he sums up in a short phrase: “by celebrating  where we come from, we can clearly see where we are headed.” 

“In celebration of the 30th anniversary of “The Lion King,” Olivier Rousteing and the team at Balmain created a vibrant  and powerful collection, beautifully capturing the heart and essence of the iconic film and the spirit of Africa,” said  Tasia Filippatos, President, Disney Consumer Products. “This collaboration continues Disney’s lasting legacy of working  with global visionaries and spotlighting future generations of creatives. The Disney x Balmain: The Lion King collection will launch on 8 July, online at and across the globe at  Balmain addresses and the world’s leading fashion boutiques. For more information on the collection’s pop-up locations,  visit or Balmain’s social media accounts.

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