August 30 2014

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1 posts tagged "Balmainia"

More Flash Than Trash:
Olivier Rousteing At Balmain


After creating, with stylist Emmanuelle Alt, the phenomenon of Balmainia, former creative director Christophe Decarnin abruptly departed from the house he’d brought back to relevance, citing only medical concerns. As the press buzzed about the escalating pressures of the industry (in the wake not only of Decarnin’s departure but of Galliano’s anti-Semitic outburst and McQueen’s suicide), the label appointed an impossibly young, all but untested designer to take his place: The then-25-year-old Frenchman Olivier Rousteing, who’d worked under Decarnin at the height of Balmain’s moment.

Rousteing, a veteran of Roberto Cavalli under Peter Dundas and Balmain under Decarnin, presented his first collection for Resort 2011 and followed it up with a well-received first show for Spring that kept the glitz and glamour but lost some of the rock ‘n’ roll trashiness that had given previous collections their edge. Critics and buyers—even those who had been Decarnin’s boosters—responded. On a recent trip to New York, Rousteing spoke with about his vision for the house, the high pressure of the industry, and why you won’t see any shredded T-shirts on his watch.

You joined Balmain in 2009, at a time when there was so much excitement around the label—Balmainia, as it were. What was that like?
I went there when it was Balmainia…I understood when I came to the house that it was a really small house with a really big name. But there wasn’t all the structure. It was super-interesting—there was not a lot of people. What is nice at Balmain is not only this part, the Balmainia, but even before; you have access to amazing archives. That was a good thing too with this house. It’s a really French house; it [has] old history.

Is that what you still look back to for your own collections?
When I arrived, I loved the rock ‘n’ roll sex appeal that was in the house, [and] I loved to work with Christophe, obviously. But what I learned from this house is that there is a real DNA, something from the past that I want to bring back. I want to bring the couture feeling that I tried to during the summer [for Spring 2011].

To temper the rock ‘n’ roll with something a little more classic.
I think “classic” is the right word. I want to go to something more timeless. Something that goes for the future. What I love from the old French house, it’s not seasonal. It’s something that stays. That’s my goal for Balmain. Keeping the sexiness but a bit dressier. For a woman who’s more chic, [to] expand from the woman who was before.

There was obviously an enormous amount of pressure on Christophe Decarnin, as there is on all major designers today. Is that something that concerns you?
I believe a lot in the place where I work. I love the brand. The people that work with me are my friends. Already that creates a really good structure, a good system. When Christophe [was] gone, for sure, it was hard for us, but I love [for] the brand to keep going. What I think is nice now is that I can give myself inside the house now, more than before. There were many things I liked with Christophe, and many things that were not me. Now it’s completely me. Continue Reading “More Flash Than Trash:
Olivier Rousteing At Balmain” »