Hazine

12.08.2015 - Jessica Marrazzo

Designer

Olivier Rousteing

FRESH-FACED AND INHERENTLY CREATIVE, OLIVER ROUSTEING IS ONE OF THE YOUNGEST CREATIVE DIRECTORS TO GRACE THE FRENCH FASHION SCENE. FOLLOWING AN UNCONVENTIONAL PATH INTO THE INDUSTRY, HIS EYES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN FOCUSED ON HIS END GOAL, AIDED BY HIS VIVID IMAGINATION AND CLEAR CONCEPT OF HIS IDEAL MUSE. IN 2011, HE BEGAN TO LEAD THE CREATIVE DIRECTION FOR THE LUXURY FRENCH FASHION HOUSE BALMAIN, LEADING IT BACK TO ITS FORMER GLORY, WITHOUT LOSING ITS MOST RECENT INTERPRETATIONS OF ROCK AND ROLL STYLE.

His style is iconic and feminine, focused on the power and animal instincts that lie behind every woman. Nestled at the heart of modern pop culture, his collections are worn by some of the biggest celebrity names of the moment, favoured by the likes of Rihanna, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. Bold and daring, each look is carefully considered, bringing a new perspective to one of the oldest fashion cities in the world.

HUMBLE BEGINNINGS

Rousteing was raised in Bordeaux. Adopted from an orphanage by a French couple, he loved the mix of cultures and diversity that surrounded him from an early age. It was this balance that also inspired the way he chose to dress. He jokingly stated that when he was 15 he used to wear baggy hip hop trousers, but could never be separated from his tailored jacket. As his passion for creativity and love of all things fashion began to develop, he moved to Paris to study and the famous Ecole Supérieure des Arts et Techniques de la Mode. However, he has always been about making his own way, favouring new experiences over classic education. After trying his hand at both design and law, he decided to leave his homeland behind and move to Italy to follow his real dream: fashion. He began his career as a designer at Roberto Cavalli, and before long he was entrusted with the role of guiding the women’s division. It was an intense period as he stepped into the limelight, forming the foundations of the greatness to follow, as well as adding another diverse element to his rapidly expanding portfolio. 

A NEW ERA

At just 25 years old, he was appointed creative director at Balmain, replacing Christophe Decarnin. This promotion made him the youngest designer to head a Parisian fashion house since Yves Saint Laurent joined Dior in 1957. Whilst it was a large undertaking at such a young age, he has often stated that he really grew up when his collection matures. In an interview with InStyle, he explained, “What helped me was my honesty, my sincerity, and my youth. I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and I do more and more so today”. Fascinated by the voice of a new generation, his presence at Balmain transformed one of fashion’s giants, renewing its fresh aesthetic with eternally young tailoring. Each collection exudes strength and independence, embracing pure and contemporary glamour. His iconic aesthetic is breath-taking: supple jackets meet skinny moto pants, feminine baby dolls drape across the female form. It’s a juxtaposition of contrasts. The structured silhouettes and sensual fabrics are designed to be worn with attitude, reflecting a very personal side to his personality to express something unique. In all that he does, one thing is evident: he is proud of his identity, a stylish warrior making his own way in the world, no matter what the world thinks of him. It’s a mind-set that has paid off so far, and one that will continue to make him known on a global scale.

 

Balmain Fall/Winter 2015 finale

Short Facts

Trademark

Sharp tailoring is Rousteing’s signature. Whether it’s padded shoulders, a perfectly cut jacket or a pair of sleek trousers, it’s all about the silhouette with a refreshing twist.

Distinctiveness

His young age and unswerving perseverance has undoubtedly been one of the factors that has set him apart from the crowd. By valuing his generation, he has built up a team around him that loves all that is new, bringing a fresh wave of creativity to the industry.

Anecdote

He started a law course out of college to please his parents, but soon quit when his passions laid elsewhere. By believing in himself against the odds, he knows that in his career, anything is possible.

Olivier Rousteing

Timeline

1985 - Baby Boy

Born in France. He was soon adopted by a French couple, who raised him in Bordeaux, at the south of the country.

2002 - Ecole Supérieure

He moves to Paris to study fashion design at the prestigious Ecole Supérieure des Arts et Techniques de la Mode, but soon decides to follow his dream and move to Italy. Roberto Cavalli hires him in the design team, and he soon rises to lead the brand’s creative direction for the women’s collections.

2009 - Balmain

Moving back to France, he begins to work for the luxury brand Balmain, under the direction of Christophe Decarnin. Whilst he likes the fresh direction of the brand, he longs for the romantic mix of strength and identity that the original Balmain archives bought to the world.

2011 - Creative Director

Balmain make a strong move, promoting Oliver to creative director. It was something that caused a stir in the industry, as he was one of the youngest designers to be promoted so quickly in the country since Saint Laurent hit the scene.

2015 - New Aesthetics

Just four years on, he continues to make a difference to the brand. With each collection, he has transformed the brand aesthetic, mixing street wear with high luxury, inspiring a generation with sharp tailoring and dreamy silhouettes.

Photo:

© GettyImages, Imaxtree

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