Balmain seeking to expand wig line
Balmain is seeking to capitalise on the trend for hairpieces and extensions by expanding their couture wig line.
The French fashion house has been using hair pieces in its catwalk shows since the 1970s, with creative director Olivier Rousteing creating a memorable moment in his A/W 2016 men’s show including female models wearing 60cm dreadlocks by Balmain Hair Couture.
When models Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid opened Balmain’s Paris Fashion Week show earlier this month (Mar16), wearing hairpieces in each other’s natural hair colour — Kendall went blonde, while Gigi went brunette — an avalanche of press and social media mentions was sparked.
Balmain Hair’s Chief Executive Steward Guliker says while Balmain Hair Couture is a separate entity from the main fashion brand, the two companies are “more or less married".
He told Business of Fashion that he is very excited about the energy Rousteing has generated for the company, who replaced Christophe Decarnin in 2011 at the age of 24.
Spring boarding off this force, Guliker is bullish about the growth of Balmain Hair, which offers haircare products and styling tools, as well as high-end wigs and weaves, a space in which most major luxury fashion brands have no significant presence.
While Balmain’s product, which includes moisturising shampoos and ceramic hairbrushes, targets a specific niche, the overall market for premium haircare is estimated to be worth $8.5 billion in 2016, according to Euromonitor.
“When we see people buying hair, they want to feel it and they want to smell it. The fact that you can create an instant makeover with a new hairdo, you’re already in the heart of the consumer," said Guliker.
Balmain Hair Couture, which is primarily distributed through professional hairdressers, will also be looking to target selfie-obsessed millennials, many of whom are apt to remix their looks more frequently than previous generations.
“We already see it in our business today,” shared Guliker. “Changing your lips from purple to red, that’s nice and you can get a reaction. But changing your hair — it’s a shock effect. That’s what people like to do and be noticed."
Balmain Hair is currently sold in 5,000 hair salons all over the world, 200 of which are in Western Europe, including three shop-in-shops - one in Amsterdam’s de Bijenkorf and L’Atelier Balmain Hair Couture, an appointment-only consultation and custom hair service in Paris.