The Balmain Unicorn
Introducing Olivier Rousteing’s Latest Sneaker Design
It’s not often that one manages to catch a glimpse of a unicorn.
Rare and elusive, that single-horned steed’s captivating beauty and astonishing strength have allowed it to play key roles in past and modern legends. In both medieval heraldry and today’s metaphors, the mythical beast serves as a quickly recognized symbol of courage, pride and the liberating power of surprising solutions.
That unique history and symbolism explains why Olivier Rousteing’s latest Balmain 2022 sneaker designs have been named for the magical creature—for Rousteing has opted to introduce a truly exceptional new Balmain shoe design. The fresh and audacious silhouette channels many unexpected influences, including anime and sleekly aerodynamic cigarette speed boats.
Technical innovations are key. Eight molds create the Unicorn’s striking multi-sectional sole, which incorporates the latest advances in the house’s signature comfort-ensuring shock-absorber cushioning system. To deliver the ideal fit, three eye-catching translucent bands are threaded through the shoe’s central cavity and attached, on each side, to the matte PPU laces—allowing the Unicorn to perfectly cradle the foot, while offering the ultimate final vertical and horizontal fit adjustments.
It's not just the futuristic sneaker’s streamlined lines that evoke maximum speed. Compelling additions—including the upper’s three parallel breaking waves and the sole’s bold and tactile mix of traction patterns—riff on the type of dynamic depictions of powerful acceleration typically spotted on the pages of the best Japanese graphic novels.
The Unicorn is adorned with an array of distinctive house elements—including an impressive metallic Balmain lion’s head (replicating the house’s own heraldic symbol, which is so often paired with the unicorn on French coats of arms). While these emblems add decorative strength, no true Balmain Army member would ever need their help to identify this design. This Unicorn is clearly a Balmain—and future sneakers will reference the day the legendary creature first appeared.
Photo credits : Francesca Beltran