Balmain's Discovers Its B-Runner Sneaker in Untrodden and Unfamiliar Settings

Jay Russell’s photo series reinterprets the Balmain silhouette through a new lens.

Footwear 
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Balmain‘s latest B-Runner sneaker has been transported into a strange and uncanny environment with a new photo series by photographer Jay Russell. HYPEBEAST has teamed up with the luxury brand and Russell to create a new world for the low-top monochromatic model.

The B-Runner, crafted by creative director Olivier Rousteing and his sneaker design team, is a sleek, distinctively curving unisex silhouette that mimics the pathways and patterns of moving water.

Similar to the house’s best-selling B-Bold high-top sneaker, the B-Runner reflects the bold spirit of Rousteing’s modern Balmain. The three-part sole is of a complex design and is matched by a juxtaposition of contrasting textures, rich suedes, rubberized leather, nylon mesh and pleated mesh fabrics.

The creative director’s ongoing focus on innovation with this sneaker line coincides with the unveiling of the Balmain Sneaker Hub, the house’s new go-to platform for anything Balmain-sneaker related. The mini-site, a distinct section hosted on the Balmain.com website, will be home to a stream of dedicated content around the brand’s sneaker drops, including inventive shootings, videos, playlists and inspirations. Jay Russell’s photo series will also be featuring on the Balmain Sneaker Hub.

The B-Runner has been designed to complement both sporty and more classic Balmain looks, the sneaker being the ideal shape and weight to be versatile enough for a hike in the hills, commutes through the urban cityscape and a leisurely fall within the allotment gardens. This is where Jay Russell’s photo editorial comes in, shaping a fresh, dynamic and unfamiliar visual space in which the B-Runner can exist. HYPEBEAST spoke to the photographer about his work to get a better understanding of his inspirations for the concept.

HYPEBEAST: Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into photography?

Jay Russell: I’m not sure how I got into photography but I was always into painting and then got really into music production and then once I got bored of that I must have picked up photography. I was always obsessing over a different thing when I was younger and ‘completing it’ (well trying to) and moving on. I’m glad I’m not like that anymore, it was exhausting.

How has your visual style evolved over the years?

I started off being mostly into documentary photography and now I am just more into all sorts of imagery, I guess that’s shown in my work. I think the term photographer is kind of outdated in regards to the way people approach image-making now.

What is the name of your photo series?

Next Station Stop: The Allotments. 

What inspired the idea behind the series and how does it relate to the Balmain world?

I just wanted to recreate this surreal scene I had in my head, a train station stopping at an allotment and creating a sudden gust of wind. I thought it was an interesting way to show the sneaker, caught up in all this chaos and distilling the sneakers mid-air.

Who was the subject for the photo series and what is your relationship to them?

I’ve shot Joel over the years on a few different projects. He’s a sick model and an amazing filmmaker. 

How did you style the Balmain B-Runner sneaker with other Balmain apparel and accessory pieces? How did the subject’s style come through?

Edie, our stylist, styled all the pieces with the B-Runner and she knew the surreal feel we were going for so picked a combination of the Balmain collection weaved in with her own archive. Ultimately we wanted the styling to not distract from the allotment setting and also felt that Joel’s own styled worked organically with the Balmain pieces.

Be sure to check out Balmain’s latest sneaker hub through the brand’s website.

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