Balmain is the latest luxury house to enter the fine jewelry category, WWD has learned.
The French fashion house is to release its first collection this summer, billing it as gender-neutral and socially conscious, made of ethically sourced 18-karat gold, “conflict-free minerals” and traceable gemstones.
That the 32 designs will be bold seems to be a given, if creative director Olivier Rousteing’s last Balmain show for spring 2022 was any indication: It featured gold chain links scaled up to create sexy tops, one of which was recently worn by Elle Fanning to the 2021 InStyle Awards.
Balmain chief executive officer Jean-Jacques Guével calls fine jewelry a “natural extension of Balmain’s luxury universe,” while Rousteing notes that “everything that comes out of our studio remains true to the house’s audacious, inclusive spirit and always-bold silhouette — making it possible to quickly recognize a Balmain design.”
For the new venture, Balmain said it is relying on the expertise of the Adorisa Group, established in Paris last year and helmed by former De Beers jewelry CEO François Delage.
“We are proud to be true partners of both Olivier Rousteing and Balmain,” Delage said in a statement, explaining the raison d’être of Adorisa. “We like to think of ourselves as connectors and facilitators, which is why we worked so closely with Olivier and his team, using our expertise to ensure that both the house’s distinct attitude and Olivier’s creative vision were perfectly translated into Balmain’s first fine jewelry collection. In addition, our deep commitments to sustainability and craftsmanship are values that Balmain clearly shares.”
Led by Delage and Albert Bensoussan, previously CEO of the luxury watches and jewelry division at Kering, Adorisa Group “partners with fashion houses as they diversify into fine jewelry, supporting and guiding them on all aspects of design, production, marketing and distribution,” its website says. Bensoussan’s title is vice chairman.
Adorisa is part of Alsara Investments Group, whose holdings include another start-up, Akoni, maker of Balmain eyewear. Alsara Investment Group was founded by Rachid Mohamed Rachid, who is also CEO of Mayhoola for Investment, Balmain’s owner.
Adorisa noted that Balmain’s fine jewelry would be crafted “in the finest workshops in France.” It will be available worldwide at Balmain boutiques, leading luxury multibrand jewelers and fashion addresses, as well as online, the brand noted.
Branded jewelry — whether costume, fine or high — is a hot category, with Prada entering the fine jewelry space in 2019, for example.
According to Adorisa, “Fine jewelry is a true brand and business opportunity for many fashion houses. There are still very few actors in the category, which is also one of the fastest growing categories within luxury. Balmain is the first brand in the Adorisa Group portfolio and we are looking forward to collaborate with many more.”
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