Fashion / Style

Lion King Movie Anniversary Inspires a Special Fashion Collab Between Balmain and Disney With an Unexpected Houston Tie-In

Spotlighting South African Creatives

BY // 07.10.24
photography Joel Anderson

It has been three decades since Disney released the animated coming-of-age film The Lion King and among the most high-profile of many celebrations of the milestone is a new partnership between French heritage house Balmain and Disney. The two have teamed up for a limited edition collection saluting the popular Disney movie.

Coincidentally, the launch of the Disney x Balmain: The Lion King collection somewhat coincides with the Hobby Center Broadway presentation of the musical. The Lion King runs this Thursday, July 11 through August 4 in Houston in a Broadway-style moment.

The vibrant, bold fashions in the Disney x Balmain: The Lion King collection include ready-to-wear clothes for men and women as well as unique couture looks. Spotlighting a new generation of African talent, Disney and Balmain tapped three young artists — South African painter Nika Mtwana, Cameroonian painter Enfant Precoce and South African painter Cassius Khumal — to create prints inspired by the movie.

Disney x Balmain TLK. Credit- Joel Anderson 7 (Photo by Joel Anderson)
‘The Lion King’ inspired fashion by Balmain in partnership with Disney in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the film. (Photo by Joel Anderson)

The collection of zebra-stripe coats and jackets, a densely fringed raffia dress and bustier gown and flowing capes patterned with familiar Lion King characters is being sold by Balmain and at department stores, including Saks Fifth Avenue, now.

“At Balmain, we specialize in sharp tailoring, ornate embellishments and a strong sense of glamour,” Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing tells Bazaar. “(This) collection embodies French elegance while embracing African culture.”

The collection was released virtually across the globe on Monday and is available at Balmain in River Oaks District.

BAL_Shot 37_1508 (1) (Photo by Joel Anderson)
‘The Lion King’ inspired fashion by Balmain in partnership with Disney in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the film. (Photo by Joel Anderson)

Learning relatively late in life that his birth parents were from Somalia and Ethiopia, Rousteing found an organic connection between The Lion King and this design effort.

“Let’s go back to my 9-year-old self in Bordeaux, who was watching this incredible cartoon. It inspired me so much through my journey,” he tells Elle magazine. “The story of Mufasa; the story of Simba fighting for his life and his own destiny.

“And knowing that I’m coming from an orphanage, and I had to fight for my own destiny in many ways, I kind of related to Simba as a child.”

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