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Olivier Rousteing – The face and creative director of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing – The face and creative director of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing, adopted from a Bordeaux orphanage at five months old, has breathed new life into French fashion house Balmain and become the face of the brand.

Go-getter Olivier Rousteing was just 24 when he was appointed Balmain’s creative director and, although he is guided by those who’ve gone before him, the confident style of today’s modern woman has a strong influence on his designs.

Balmain’s 2018 collection

Balmain’s bold new collection reflects Rousteing’s design philosophy, merging ornate embroidery and classic couture techniques with ultra-modern silhouettes and serious sex appeal. The Resort 2018 collection is also influenced by Rousteing’s recent costume designing collaboration with Opéra de Paris.

“One doesn’t spend day after day surrounded by such beauty without being inspired – I soon found myself channelling the refined spirit of centuries of French classical ballet into my sketches,”

Rousteing says. “What most impressed me was the talent, daring and power of its dancers – making clear the obvious connection between ballet’s strong women and the members of today’s Balmain Army.”

The Balmain Army

By ‘Balmain Army’, he is referring to an exclusive club of “glamour warriors” – empowered women he admires for not being afraid to say “what they love, what they want to be and who they are”. It also helps if they wear Balmain. Among its more famous members are Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Kim Kardashian-West and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, whose affiliation with the brand Rousteing regularly highlights on Instagram. With 4.6 million followers, the ambitious creative director has harnessed the power of social media to reinvent and supercharge the longstanding Balmain brand.

Launching in 1945

Pierre Balmain launched the Paris fashion house back in 1945, finding favour with French women eager to embrace a fresh, feminine aesthetic. A series of designers have since made their mark on the brand, most notably Oscar de la Renta between 1993 and 2002, but Rousteing is set on growing the Balmain brand into “something that every continent will know”. With the likes of First Lady Brigitte Macron wearing his designs, the future looks bright indeed.

This article appeared in volume 26 of Signature Luxury Travel & Style. To subscribe to the latest issue, click here.