Breaking Barriers: Olivier Rousteing at Balmain

With a new era, comes new opportunities and Balmain (pronounced bal-mahn) has arrived at the brink of change. The French fashion house, opened in 1945 by Pierre Balmain, has blossomed into one of the world’s leading luxury labels, producing extraordinary pieces that can be found on red carpets, magazine covers, and the bodies of celebrities and fashionistas (or fashionistos) across the globe. With the recent resignation of Christophe Decarnin, the label’s former creative director, Balmain has formally announced the esteemed individual that will be taking over as head of the house.

Meet Olivier Rousteing, the newest creative director of Balmain. This special young man will be supervising the design and development of the company’s future men’s and women’s ready-to-wear collections. The Bordeaux native graduated from l’Ecole Supérieure des Arts et techniques de la Mode (ESMOD), a Parisian fashion school, and worked at Roberto Cavalli for five years before joining the Balmain design team, where he was appointed as head of the womenswear studio in 2009. You all may be wondering what makes Rousteing’s accomplishments so remarkable. In addition to being an African-American rising in the fashion ranks, he is only 25 years old!  This change at Balmain will ultimately lead to a change in the face of Paris Fashion Week. Not only will he diversify the assortment of predominantly white designers showing collections, his younger perspective will surely bring a fresh feel to the chic and sexy glamrock style that has become Balmain’s trademark over the past few years. Rousteing has been given a huge responsibility. Balmain has been said to provide a fix for women who have a need for edgy, youthful clothing (similar to that of men with watches and cars), so keeping up this task will be important for the company’s loyal customers, but certainly one that he can handle. I’m excited for Olivier and look to him as a great source of inspiration. He’s proof that age is truly nothing but a number.

Never heard of Balmain? You’re probably a little more familiar with the label than you think. Check out some of Balmain’s more recent notable pieces below.

[Kanye West in Balmain Jeans for Katy Perry's E.T. music video]

I plan to honour that confidence by ensuring that Pierre Balmain always remains one of the leading brands that others look to as a reference.

-Olivier Rousteing, Creative Director, Balmain