Balmain’s Collab With Okhtein Marks a New Chapter for the Egyptian Handbag Label

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Since the launch of Egyptian handbag label Ohktein nearly a decade ago, co-founders and creative directors, Aya and Mounaz Abdel Raouf, have managed to go from strength to strength, capturing the industry’s attention by creating eye-catching and covetable handbags. The sisters, who founded the brand in 2013, recently grabbed the attention of Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing, who enlisted the design duo to create a stunning piece for the French fashion house’s Spring 2023 ready-to-wear collection inspired by the “rebirth and rediscovery of the beauty of the Renaissance.”

The result of the Okhtein x Balmain collaboration, which debuted at Stade Jean Bouin during Paris Fashion Week, was a sculptural bustier crafted out of worn-out resin inspired by the iconic Egyptian alabaster stone.

Rousteing was adamant on churning out a totally sustainable collection — no trees were harvested to create these pieces, he revealed — which Is why the sisters opted for resin,  a plastic-like material that can be molded into various shapes and forms. 

“This piece was the most challenging project for both of us, however we found it as an opportunity to push ourselves as designers and product developers. We are grateful for our team and for the factories we work with, for bringing this piece to life,” shared the two sisters in a released statement. 

The sculptural top features unconventional cut-outs meant to evoke a deconstructed, worn-out look and was styled with a brass bangle around the neck reminiscent of Okhtein’s latest addition to its sprawling collection of accessories, the Bangle Bag. 

“In addition to relying on our own talented Balmain artisans, we’ve reached out to new creators from outside of the Paris couture world to partner with us,” Rousteing said in the show notes, adding, “they helped open our eyes to how we can work closely with nature for this special couture moment—while helping us avoid leaving any footprints on the forest floor.”

“We are both thrilled and excited to be collaborating with Olivier Rousteing and Balmain for their Spring 2023 collection. Our first  encounter with Olivier was back in 2019, when he was one of the judges at the Fashion Trust Arabia. We look up to him on so many levels and truly love his genuineness and passion for what he does,” the sisters went on to explain in the release.

“We are excited to be showing a little piece of our brand and its story. Coming from Egypt, a country of rich heritage and history, the story combining both our vision and Olivier’s has been a truly wonderful experience.”

Balmain x Okhtein S23 1 Brass Bangle

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