Olivier Rousteing – a wonderful child of the fashion world

He became a creative director at the age of 25. Earlier only Yves Saint Laurent managed. The Balmain fashion house managers took and … never regretted their decision. Today, Balmain is a beloved brand of stars and influencers, and Rousteing himself has become one of them.


Baby period is probably the most traumatic time in Rousteing’s life. He was born in Bordeaux, but he was not able to meet biological parents. They abandoned him right after birth, and the first house of Rousteing became an orphanage. With a happy twist of fate, his stay in the orphanage turned out to be short. Lydia and Bri-Jean Rousteing adopted Olivier when he was only five months old.

Little Prince

After leaving the orphanage, I grew up in the perfect home. I had my bedroom, as well as Salle de Juu (playroom). I was really spoiled. I had everything I wanted, and when I didn’t get my dream gift, I was making a row. I was a naughty only child! – he admitted in childhood memories for the magazine “British Vogue”.

Living in a wealthy family was a fairy tale for Rousteing, until he came to school where he had to face the jealousy and hatred of his peers. They pointed out everything – from the color of the skin (Rousteing’s parents are white), through a passion for fashion, to the issues of sexual orientation.

By facing the great difficulties of life, which are much worse than bad rating of the collection, you become stronger. A bad review is less painful for me than what I experienced at the age of 10. I liked fashion very much, and children at school said: “If you love fashion, you are gay”. High school was the worst. – He remembered in “British Vogue”.

The Ultra -conservative Society of Bordeaux was not ready for Rousteing, it was high time for Paris.

Designer or lawyer?

Deciding on the future, despite the great love of fashion, Rousteing chose very practically. He signed up for … law. As he explained during an interview in Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, His parents persuaded him to go to legal studies. This “legal adventure” did not last long.

I like to fight and defend people, but I realized that I love fashion – he explained.

Fashion above all

The next stop was the famous Esmod So Ecole Supérieure des Arts et Techniques de la Mode. Private, prestigious fashion school where he did not stay for a long time. As he admitted in an interview with GQ, he hated this school, and the professors killed his ambitions. He went to Italy with Esmod, where he worked over six years. Initially, at an internship in a small brand in Rome, then to reach Florence, to Cavall’s master. He started there as a designer, finally reaching the position of the head of the fashion department of the brand Roberto Cavalli. Such a serious promotion, in such a short time is a unique thing in the fashion industry, but it was just the beginning of Rousteing’s dizzying career.

In 2009, the designer returned to Paris by taking the position of a women’s collection designer Ready to Wear at the Balmain fashion house. Christophe Decarnin, then creative director of Balmain, became for Olivier a kind of mentor. When Decarnin stepped down in 2011. Roousteing took his place from the position of creative director, and there was no end to rumors and gossip.

Golden water jump

Olivier Rousteing became a creative director at only 25 years old. A similar story happened only once – when Yves Saint Laurent embraced the rudders of the Dior fashion house at the age of 21. Preparation of the first collection for Balmain – Spring/Summer 2012 show inspired by Las Vegas, the designer still remembers as an extremely stressful event.

This is an experience similar to the one in which the child tries to touch the fire because he does not understand that he will burn up. I think it was the same in my case – I was taught the design – You never learn to be a creative director – He remembered during a conversation in Met.

The new history of Balmain

Despite the young age and after all, modest experience, Rousteing had very specific plans for the future of Balmain from the beginning.

My goal for the coming years is to make the brand known on every continent – He admitted in an interview with “The Business of Fashion”.

Rousteing has started work from the first days of “rule” in Balmain. He “worked” on the brand’s aesthetics. He put on strong, sexy silhouettes. Underlined shapes, mini lengths, lots of gold decorations. Something that we can associate with the Cavalli collection, but in a much more extreme edition. At first glance, very bold, but still within the limits of good taste. This combination rarely succeeds.

Rousteing was sent to the hearts of clients. New friends and … Instagram helped him.

Balmain Army

It’s hard to talk about Rousteing, not to mention Balmain Army. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner and Rihanna. Four brand ambassadors, each represents a different type of beauty and origin. The variety of “Oliviera gang” has been noticed and is widely praised among the public. Rousteing is a supporter of diversity in the fashion industry, which allowed him to win the favor of clients from around the world.

Privately, Rousteing is friends with girls from Balmain Army, as well as pop culture stars. He includes marriage to his closest friends Kardashian-West, Jennifer Lopez or Beyonce. Celebrities support Balmain by promoting Rousteing projects at lavish galas (like Jennifer Lopez at the MET gala in 2018.) or during concert tours (like Beyonce).

Designer or celebrity?

Olivier is one of the few designers who reports his life on Instagram on an ongoing basis. From the beginning of the application, he saw its possibilities using Instagram as a means of promotion – for himself and for Balmain. Thanks to my closest friends-customs, Rousteing joined the world of “known and liked”, easily finding in it.

Designer’s account is a very meticulously kept photographic diary. We will find everything on it – from morning training (the designer pays great importance to appearance), work records on the collection, to lavish balls, and from time to time also childhood memories. On the other hand, the private Rousteing profile is also a nutrient for tabloids. A designer who loves simply selfie, He is loudly criticized for great interference in beauty and frequent visits to the plastic surgeon.

Desirable brand

Sexy, ultra -female Collections, so different from the competition proposals, strong support for celebrities and young designer-star, made Rousteing about Balmain to speak again from the moment of taking over the helmets by Rousteing about Balmain again. Interesting proposals also fell apart.

In 2015, a collection appeared on the market Balmain x H&M. Say that she achieved success, it’s like saying nothing. 97% of the entire collection unofficially sold out, the remaining 3% was stolen. H&M, which does not comment on the sale of his collections, in the case of Balmain made an exception:

Balmain X H collection&M was a huge success and we are extremely happy with the reaction in stores on all our markets – admitted the company in a statement for “Refinery29”.

In 2017, Balmain undertook another cooperation, this time with the L’Oreal Cosmetics Company. Rousteing, which designed the lipstick line L’Oreal x Balmain Color Riche explained the decision to cooperate with the desire to reach a wider audience.

I am really close to luxury, but at the same time I am also close to pop culture and I think that many people who can love the Balmain world cannot afford clothes [brands]. Cooperation with L ’ Oréal Paris gives them a chance to learn about luxury – he admitted in the statements for “The Business of Fashion”.

The Balmain collection for Victoria ’ s Secret and cooperation with Paris Opera Ballet. A special project on the order of the choreographer Sébastien Bertaud was created in connection with the performance “Renaissance”. Rousteing joined the group of outstanding designers such as Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld and Christian Lacroix, who in their history also designed for the Parisian ballet.

Balmain transformation

Another Rousteing idea was to introduce a new logo of the Balmain fashion house, as well as restoring the Balmain collection couture, whose production the fashion house ceased after the departure of the Oscar de la Renta in 2002.

The collection revealed at the beginning of this year is real Meisterstuck tailoring. The inspiration was Paris and the beauty of France found in the archives of the Balmain fashion house. The main role in the first collection couture Rousteing was played by feathers and pearls. The designer also benefited from Swarovski crystals, he made bows one of the leitmotifs, and he expressed love for craft with crochet additives. The collection has collected very high marks.

Second Lagerfeld?

It looks like Rousteing had a nose. His “term” is an endless band of success, and the brand’s finances have never been so good. Olivier’s openness and honest. Clothes and accessories with the Balmain tag are loved by stars and wealthy clients. Those who cannot afford the main collection can feel the Balmain world thanks to cosmetics – definitely more affordable.

Employing a twenty -five -year -old creative director of one of the most valued French brands, the Balmain Board probably did not realize the accuracy of the decision he made. After eight years of constant success, the question arises – is Balmain the peak of Rousteing’s dreams. There are rumors in the industry about a job waiting for him at the Chanel fashion house.