As the battle of the knock-offs between the catwalk and the high street rages on, one designer that won't be seeking patent protections to safeguard his designs is Balmain's head designer Olivier Rousteing.

Speaking to the Independent, the style guru admitted that he believes imitation is the best form of flattery when it comes to fashion.

"I think it was Coco Chanel who said if you're original, be ready to be copied," he said. "I love seeing a Zara window with my clothes mixed with Céline and Proenza! I think that's genius. It's even better than what I do! I love the styling, I love the story... I watch the windows always, and it's genius what they do today".

While some designers would be seething after working all season on a collection only for an interpretation to end up in stores at a fraction of the price, Rousteing insists designers can learn a lot from high street favourites like Zara.

He continued: "They go fast, they have a great sense of styling and how to pick up what they have to pick up from designers. I'm really happy that Balmain is copied - when I did my Miami collection and we did the black and white checks, I knew they would be in Zara and H&M. But they did it in a clever way - they mixed a Céline shape with my Balmain print! Well done! I love that."

Meanwhile, Rousteing, who has dressed stars including Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Kim Kardashian, said his 'muse' Rihanna was the ideal person to front Balmain, which has evolved into a "new generation brand, even keeping the tradition."

"I love seeing a woman, the feeling of a model, a top model," Rousteing told The Independent of the singer.

"When you look at an old Versace show, you loved the dress, but you loved Claudia Schiffer, you loved Cindy Crawford. Supermodels! With Rihanna you get that, too. Today people are looking at Rihanna like they were looking at Naomi Campbell or Claudia... nobody wants to be a model, everybody wants to be a singer.

"That's the new dream. I think having Rihanna in the campaign is like having Cindy Crawford of Christy Turlington, but for my generation."