Every season the French fashion house Balmain recruits new faces to join their ‘Balmain Army’ and this season is no different. Except for the fact that the models are all CGI. That’s right, they aren’t real.

The brainchild of the label, creative director Olivier Rousteing, used technology to create a virtual version of his #BalmainArmy. The army consists of three models; Shudu, Margot and Zhi.1

“Model” Shudu is not only the world’s first “digital supermodel” but she’s modeled for Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty dark skinned range and has over 141,000 followers on Instagram. The other two “models” however were created exclusively for Balmain.

All three models, designed by British photographer Cameron-James Wilson, were created with the aim of reflecting the brand’s “unfettered celebration of inclusion.”2

Speaking about the models, the brainchild of Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing, said,  “When my team and I saw the first generation of CGI models, we told ourselves that if this was the way the world was going, we wanted to ensure that diversity plays a strong part in that future. 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.” 3

There are critics who argue, and rightfully so, that Balmain could have hired real-life models of different color and backgrounds for the campaign.


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But this may be the newest craze as fashion houses Burberry, Louis Vuitton, and Prada are also using CGI model to promote their products.

What do you think?

Sources and References

  1. Nine.Au, September 3, 2018.
  2. Nine.Au, September 3, 2018.
  3. Nine.Au, September 3, 2018.