Cara Delevingne’s latest gig is seriously steamy. As the face of the spring-summer 2019 Balmain campaign, the British model posed nude in striking black and white images.
In one photo, the fierce model appears completely naked in front of a Balmain “B,” with her hair slicked back showing off long limbs and tattoos. In another, she’s in high-waisted pants that are tied together at her belly button. With her hands behind her head, she stands topless as Balmain’s creative director Olivier Rousteing stands behind her (also topless) covering her breasts with his hands.
“I love her so much that I don’t want to see any clothes on her,” the designer told British Vogue. “Her gaze is so strong and magnetic, it’s nearly an item of clothing in itself.”
If this second image seems familiar that’s probably because it was a reenactment of the 1993 Janet Jackson Rolling Stone cover. The original was shot by photographer Patrick Demarchelier and featured the musician’s then-boyfriend Rene Elizondo’s hands. This same artwork appeared on her Janet album cover, although only showing her face, not her entire body.
Delevingne and Rousteing may be friends with a “special chemistry,” but the designer picked the British beauty to be the face (well, body) of the campaign because he felt she perfectly represents what it means to be a modern woman. “She is authentic, transparent and never afraid to push it on every single level,” he explained in a statement from the fashion house.
He felt passionate and excited to pose with his muse, saying, “Yes, we’re naked. Yes, I’m black and she’s white. So, go ahead, trolls, give me your best.” He told British Vogue that he wanted to represent a 1990s nostalgia but with a better understanding of inclusivity. “The campaign shows the reunion of two skin tones, one black – or mixed race – and one white,” he said in the interview.
In the end, he loved how photographer Dan Beleiu captured a combination of honesty, confidence and friendship in one shot. But the most important message he wanted to present? “An essential truth that becomes more and more clear to me each day: The biggest luxury in life is being completely open, true and honest with yourself.” This is something he was able to beautifully embodied in the bold and stunning campaign.
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