Olivier Rousteing, who came out to his grandfather by way of a nude portrait of himself on a magazine cover, has stripped down for the camera once again. This time, it's for Balmain's Spring 2019 ad campaign, and he's joined by his longtime friend and muse Cara Delevingne.
Photographed by Dan Beleiu, the black-and-white images feature Rousteing covering Delevingne's breasts with his hands. The pose was seemingly inspired by the iconic portrait of Janet Jackson that served as the artwork for her 1993 album "Janet," which Rousteing posted to his own Instagram just prior to releasing images from the campaign.
"I've always enjoyed the special chemistry that I share with my friend Cara," Rousteing wrote in a press release. "It's a bond that's beyond obvious in the many photos and videos taken over the past few years, capturing our spontaneous hugs, kisses and, of course, the never-ending laughter."
Rousteing went on to explain that he hoped the images (which don't feature much in the way of actual fashion) reflected his desire to "strip away all pretense" and focus on "nothing but the bare essentials of today's Balmain Woman," detailing how he sees Delevingne embodying that ideal.
As connected as he is on social media — the designer's personal Instagram is followed by 5.2 million members of the "Balmain army" — it's perhaps unsurprising that Rousteing also anticipated the response he might get from some haters online.
"Yes, we're naked. Yes, I'm black and she's white. So, go ahead, trolls, give me your best," he wrote in the release. "You will never change the fact that I love what Dan Beleiu was able to capture here... the biggest luxury in life is being completely open, true and honest with yourself."