Jennifer Lopez & Olivier Rousteing Talk 'Luxury, Race and Feminism' in Paper Magazine, Plus See More Photos From Their Spread


You’ve seen the cover, now get into more striking images of Jennifer Lopez and Balmain designer Olivier Rousteing’s spread in Paper magazine.


In addition to more photos, Paper released the mag’s cover story in which Jennifer and Olivier define what ‘luxury’ means to them, the upcoming Balmain x H&M collaboration, Jennifer’s Las Vegas show, feminism & more.


Peep some highlights:

Jennifer, photos of the dress you wore for your birthday are everywhere. You look amazing.

Jennifer Lopez: Oh, I know — the little slutty dress. Yeah, that’s good.

So what does luxury mean to you?

Lopez: To me, it’s stuff that’s very custom or made for you or fitted — that’s how I like all my clothes to feel. And when I think of luxury, whether it’s a house or a car or any luxury item, it’s like something special about it that feels like you. Or a piece of jewelry — you know what I mean? It has to have a classic feel to it. I like things that are super trendy. I like things that look like they could’ve been in this era or that era, but it still feels modern.

Jennifer, what is it about Olivier’s work that says luxury to you?

Lopez: Wearing them just now, it feels very much like me. I know probably every girl thinks this, and that’s the genius of a designer: everybody who puts it on feels like, “Oh my god, this is made for me!” It’s the velvet, it’s the sparkle; it’s so ready for the spotlight. I think every girl who wears any special thing, they want to feel like they’re a star. And that’s how you feel when you wear one of Olivier’s dresses. Like, “OK, where are we going? There must be something special going on!”

Will we see that kind of specialness in your costumes for your Vegas residency that’s coming up?

Lopez: Oh, for the Vegas? Yeah, that’s what I’m hoping. That’s what we’re hoping for.

Olivier Rousteing: I’m for it completely.

Because if you do Balmain costumes, people would go crazy.

Lopez: I think of it like Bob Mackie with Cher, or even with Diana Ross. People like that who really created for a singer, a stage performer. You think of Cher at the Oscars — that thing she wore on her head and everyone went, “Who did this?” Again, it was so her and it was so custom made. It goes back to how luxurious it was: you wouldn’t see that everyday. That’s what I imagine the Vegas show to be. I would love to work with Olivier on the show, even if he couldn’t do the whole thing, to really create something timeless. We still talk about those things because they made such a mark, but Bob and Cher had a real relationship. It was those special relationships between designers that really created timeless fashion moments and timeless moments in pop culture.

Olivier, I want to know what your definition of luxury is.

Rousteing: For me, luxury today is confidence in assuming who you are, where you are, no matter where you come from. And that’s what I think I do with Balmain. A lot of people say it’s a party dress or something, and I think Jennifer explained pretty well that she wants to wear it onstage. When you want to wear something onstage, you want to wear it not because it’s a party dress, but because it’s armor. It’s something you feel really strong in that you’re going to show to the world.

And your muses are always these beautiful, sexy women who are also very strong.

Rousteing: Yeah. For me, Balmain is almost feminist. It’s about the power of girls and women in the world. And that’s why I love Jennifer. All the muses that have inspired me are really strong and they sometimes fight against the world to show their own rules, which I think Jennifer did throughout her career and she’s still doing it. You see many stars today try to look like her. She imposes her own rules. And when I think, “What is the Balmain girl?” it’s this. It’s a woman who knows what she wants and is going to express it.

Lopez: The concept of a fearless, strong woman who radiates confidence inside and out is an inspiring idea. It’s a great thing for young girls and women to see Balmain’s muses illustrated by these ideas of strength and beauty. For them it’s about a woman who creates her own destiny and forges her own future.

Do you think that fashion houses need celebrities nowadays?

Rousteing: Yeah, because celebrities are so inspiring. It doesn’t matter about the money or where you live or where you come from. I think celebrities have something to say to the world, and they have a communication that is so inspiring to the new generation. And communication is what’s most important today. I think celebrities help fashion survive.

You’ve worked a lot with the Kardashians and the Jenners. What draws you to them?

Rousteing: It’s what I said — you go and fight against the rules. Like, there’s no taboo. You are who you are and you’re going to show it to the world. And it’s what I’m doing on my own. I’m building my own business, my own story. When I got the [Balmain] job I was 25 and I was not known. I was not this big fashion name. I come from an orphanage. My parents are white, I’m black. Nothing in my life responds to a normal rule. So I love people who are assuming their own lives and showing people that dreams can come true.

One of the things you’ve brought up before is racism in the industry. Balmain is one of the few luxury houses that cast diverse models. Why don’t luxury houses cast more black or Asian models?

Because they’re not living in the real world. You asked me why we need celebrities in fashion, which I think was really smart. Celebrities come from music. I think the music system is way more open-minded and way more diverse. Fashion people sometimes forget that, except for the front row that you’re going to get at your show, there’s an entire world that loves fashion. So it’s important for me and for Balmain to show the diversity because it’s also about the luxury of communication. And you don’t communicate for just 10 people in the room during a show; you communicate to an entire world.

For more photos and the rest of the cover story, head on over to Paper’s website.

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