ballet’s enfant terrible sergei polunin is the new face of balmain

As part of their ongoing collaboration with various artists, Ukrainian ballet dancer Sergei Polunin stars in a new visual for Balmain.

by Ryan White
07 September 2018, 2:31pm

If you spotted a video of Daphne Guinness all dressed-up at the wheel of a gigantic lorry earlier this week, then you’re familiar with Balmain’s latest campaign. Looking to celebrate its autumn/winter 18 campaign with a diverse range of musicians, actors, models and artists, creative director Olivier Rousteing has built the films around the idea of “Balmain playing the world like an instrument.” Having already revealed Daphne, Mina Rose and James Bay, for their next video, the French house has enlisted Ukrainian ballet dancer and enfant terrible Sergei Polunin.

Currently racking up over 24 million views on YouTube for his David LaChapelle-directed dance to Take Me to Church by Hozier, Sergei has become something of an anti-hero for the modern dance world, breathing a new energy into the fiercely traditional industry. Speaking to i-D last year, he discussed his frustrations with ballet’s conservatism. “It's the only art form that doesn't have managers or agents. It stayed closed but it's not royal anymore. It's not like the Queen goes there. So it's kind of downgraded in that sense, but never expanded to the wider audience. I'm not talking about dropping the standard. I'm talking about the same standard, but reaching bigger audiences. If it's a good quality dance, ballet is one of the best things to see.”

In the new visual for Balmain, directed by Jake Nava and with music by Ludwig Göransson, Sergei writhes around a public bathroom dressed in the brand’s signature styles: an olive green, military-esque jacket, a shimmering sequined top and lustrous black leather trousers.

Watch out for three more drops in the next few days.

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.

Olivier Rousteing
Sergei Polunin