“Fashion has always been part of the culture – it’s like food,” says Olivier Rousteing in an interview with Show Studio. Five years running as creative director of the French fashion powerhouse of Balmain, Rousteing shares how he and founder, Pierre Balmain, intersect in their creative process.
In an exclusive interview with British journalist and fashion critic, Suzy Menkes, Rousteing says, “I think Pierre Balmain was the same that I am today. It’s just that, it was a different era… He was dressing a lot of celebrities at that time. I just do the same thing he did in the 60s, but just in my own way.”
With the influx of social media and technology, Rousteing has embraced it as part of his and Balmain’s identity, reveling in pop culture and instant access to his 3.7 million Instagram followers. As a millennial designer in a league of his own, he talks of the celebration of the renaissance period in today’s pop culture and its ever-increasing pace. “A lot of designers say they’re scared or overwhelmed because everything moves so quickly now. I think it would be scarier if it was too slow. I want to go fast.”
While Pierre Balmain and his contemporaries resurrected the fashion couture during the post World War II period, seventy years later, Olivier Rousteing is now conquering and cross pollination of art and fashion. In the recent Balmain Campaign, Rousteing has collaborated with artists Kanye West, Sia, and celebrity Kim Kardashian – working with his contemporaries across the medium of music.
While in the early years of his creative directing at Balmain was strong, he has never been more in his element than he is now. “I was a kid, literally. Just understanding the business, trying to make the most beautiful collections… but now being creative director for me is something completely different… it’s expressing my point of view, more of myself, something that is more personal, more emotional that maybe four years ago I would not dare to do.”
Taking the brand to new heights with the haute couture of French fashion – the foundation of the brand – with now a new generation, Rousteing offers a place of fantasy, aligning artists of other mediums with the vision of Balmain. Rousteing ends the Marie Claire interview by expressing what inspires him: personalities. “I like people who are powerful, confident, and fearless. Balmain is about an attitude.”