10 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘Olivier Rousteing’

Quietly ruling the runway and the red carpet, Olivier Rousteing has made a meteoric rise to fashion stardom. As the creative director of Balmain, he has overseen some of the brand’s most scored collections earning respect and admiration in the fashion world. However, there are probably a few things you don’t know about the man behind the brand. Here, we present ten interesting facts about Olivier Rousteing, exploring his life, career, and influences.

1. He is Young…Very Young

Born on September 13, 1985, Olivier Rousteing stepped into the role of creative director at Balmain at just 25 years old. Coming into the coveted position in 2011, he was one of the youngest creative directors for a major fashion house in Paris. However, despite his age, he had extensive experience in fashion, having cut his teeth under Roberto Cavalli.

Despite his early success, Rousteing remains humble and grateful. He often speaks about the immense opportunities he has been given and the faith entrusted in him by the fashion world.

2. He was Adopted

Olivier Rousteing was adopted by a French couple when he was one year old. The adoption process occurred via the Les Oeuvres de la Mère de Dieu agency, which has been subject to controversy due to allegedly falsifying documents of children from war-ravaged countries. In a 2019 documentary titled “Wonder Boy”, Rousteing unraveled the mystery of his origins. He found out that he was born in Bordeaux, France, which contradicted the initial belief of being born somewhere in Africa goes.

Despite the turmoil he faced with his identity, this has shaped him as a person and has influenced his fashion creations profoundly. The discussions about race, identity, and belonging floods into his creations, making them unique and poignant.

3. He is a social media sensation

Apart from being a fashion genius, the creative director is well-known for being something of a social media kingpin. Rousteing is prolific on Instagram, boasting over six million followers, where he shares both his personal life and the latest Balmain collections.

Nicknamed the “selfie king,” Rousteing believes in the power of social media as more than a simple marketing tool, seeing Instagram as a platform that “brings [Balmain] close to [its] followers.” It offers an unprecedented level of accessibility and connection with fans.

4. The ‘Balmain Army’

Rousteing developed what is now referred to as the ‘Balmain Army.’ He consciously chooses ethnically diverse models and celebrities like Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, and Kanye West to wear and promote his creations. His aim is to celebrate diversity, individuality, and strength through fashion.

This decision has reshaped the fashion industry and set a new standard for diversity and representation on the runway and beyond. The idea behind it is to create a community that represents the brand and its beliefs.

5. His designs are heavily inspired by Music

Rousteing has often stated that music, specifically pop music, is a significant source of inspiration for him. He has a personal relationship with music, asserting that his creative process often involves playing music to help get his creative juices flowing.

His music-centric outlook has led him to design for some of the biggest names in the music industry. He designed costumes for Beyonce’s 2018 Coachella performance and has often worked closely with artists like Rihanna and Justin Bieber. These collaborations have further established his role as a revolutionary designer.

6. His first collection was a gamble

This decisive exclamation was steeped in risk. After being appointed as Balmain’s creative director, the collection he displayed at Paris fashion week was his first ever for Balmain. From this first collection, his understanding of fashion’s relationship with music, pop culture, and diversity were evident.

Despite it being a gamble, Rousteing’s debut was a success. His unique vision was lauded by both critics and audiences, and he eventually managed to steer Balmain to its current heights of success.

7. He is a strong advocate for diversity in fashion

As a younger, black designer, Rousteing has been vocal about the need for more representation and diversity within the fashion industry. He has been instrumental in challenging old stereotypes by casting a diverse range of models in his shows and campaigns, a revolutionary act in an historically exclusive industry.

His commitment to inclusion isn’t limited to runway. In 2015, Balmain launched its collaboration with H&M, aimed at making designer clothes more accessible to the public. His belief that fashion should be inclusive and diverse is reflected in everything Rousteing does as a designer.

8. He’s been compared to Yves Saint Laurent

Rousteing’s ability to revamp a classic French house has drawn comparisons with legendary French designer Yves Saint Laurent. In 2018, “The New Yorker” published an article mentioning this comparison, stating, “Rousteing often seems to be the second coming of Yves Saint Laurent.”

While flattering, this is a heavy mantle to carry. Still, like YSL, Rousteing has shown a knack for rejuvenating classic elegance with modern panache. And above all, he has proven himself to be a potent force in the fashion world.

9. He’s a big fan of reality TV

Believe it or not, Rousteing is a big fan of reality television. He has openly expressed his love for prominent reality TV stars and referenced their influence on his work. He’s particularly fond of the Kardashians and has built a fruitful relationship with the family.

This connection has seen the Kardashians become a consistent part of Balmain’s ubiquitous presence on red carpets around the world. From music videos to Met Gala gowns, the relationship between reality TV’s royal family and the French fashion house remains robust and reciprocal.

10. He loves architectural structure in his designs

Rousteing is known for his love of structure and form. This is evident in his designs that often incorporate intricate detailing and tough silhouettes. With a penchant for ornate embroidery, bold prints, and dramatic shapes, his collections are a testament to his architectural approach to fashion.

This approach is inspired by the fashion of the 80s and 90s – two eras he is particularly fond of due to their strong lines and exaggerated forms. It’s a signature aesthetic that has helped solidify Balmain’s place in the modern fashion landscape.

Here are some links to delve deeper into Olivier Rousteing’s world:

Official Balmain website
Olivier Rousteing on Instagram
“Wonder Boy” on Netflix