Olivier Rousteing: 'Fashion doesn’t have to be complicated'
Olivier Rousteing doesn’t believe fashion has to be complicated to be categorised as luxury.
The French designer began his career at Roberto Cavalli, before replacing Christophe Decarnin as creative director at Balmain in 2011, when he was just 25.
Rousteing’s designs have built him a strong following with the A-list, with his glamorous mini dresses and embellished gowns drawing the attention of Rihanna, Beyonce and Kim Kardashian.
While his garments are exquisitely tailored and embroidered, Rousteing claims he has drawn criticism for focusing on partywear and appealing to a younger consumer.
“Some people feel luxury shouldn’t look like what the masses like,” he told The Guardian. “They feel it should be more elitist. But Balmain talks to young people. It’s not about selling to them, it’s about making them part of my world… So Balmain is pop, but it is a luxury brand as well. I don’t think you have to make sad, complicated clothes to show you have depth.”
Boasting over 3.9 million fans on Instagram, Rousteing is becoming a celebrity in his own right. And he’s more than happy to embrace social media as a tool to promote his so-called Balmain Army, as well as place controversial stars like Kardashian front and centre, because of her cultural pull.
“I don’t care what anybody says about Kim. I love her. I love that she is a woman but has more power than so many men,” he shared. “And I admire her, because she is the best in the world at communicating with people.”
Rousteing, 30, spent the first year of his life in an orphanage before being adopted by a white, middle-class couple, who brought him up in Bordeaux.
Accordingly, within Balmain’s clothes and advertising, he hopes to convey a positive message about embracing culture and diversity.
“Diverse is a word that is really important to me,” he said. “I want to show that no matter your background, no matter what colour you are, where you come from, you can feel part of Balmain.”