21 posts tagged "Olivier Rousteing"
Before Iman or Naomi, there was Beverly Johnson. This August marks the 40th anniversary of Johnson’s landmark Vogue debut as the first-ever African-American to grace the mag’s cover. A year later, she landed the cover of French Elle, and later went on to score shoots with some of fashion’s most iconic photographers (like Irving Penn), Revlon campaigns, movie gigs, and more.
WWD recently checked in with the supermodel to discuss the state of the industry today, and she didn’t hesitate to point out the lack of women of color on the runways during fashion week, as well as the decrease in African-American hairstylists and makeup artists in the field right now. “Sometimes we live in this very elitist bubble called the fashion industry,” she said. “We have become really oblivious to what’s going on in the world.”
She said she will be turning a sharp eye to the runways in September, along with other top models who have been leading the charge for change, like Bethann Hardison, Iman, and Naomi Campbell. They have been joined by designers like Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing, who has been making his own push for diversity in the industry. Most recently, the designer revealed his Fall ad campaign, which features models of varied color and backgrounds. “I think fashion is all about a vision that you can give to people; it’s [about] expressing that passion. We need to show how diversity is important,” he told Style.com in an exclusive interview.
EXCLUSIVE: Olivier Rousteing, Along With Jourdan Dunn, Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, and More, Push the New “Balmain Reality” in the Brand’s Fall Ads-------
How does Olivier Rousteing top last season’s Rihanna-fronted Balmain campaign? With not one, but six faces. The brand’s new imagery for Fall, lensed by Mario Sorrenti and art-directed and styled by Katie Grand, features Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish, and Kayla Scott. Sporting Rousteing’s safari-inspired Fall fare, his stars nicely embody the heady, hard-edged sensuality he sent down the catwalk in February.
What made the Love editor in chief and über-stylist a natural choice? “She can break all the rules, and that’s what I really, really love from her,” Rousteing told Style.com of Grand. “It was really a strong decision for me and for Balmain, because we never had a campaign with so many girls and expressing this kind of vision. Katie understood from the beginning, and she translated that with the casting and with the looks that we shot.” The designer’s only quibble about his Brit friend and collaborator? “She has the strongest accent ever! As a French boy, you have a hard time understand[ing] an American, so when you have a strong accent from England, it’s like, sometimes I tell Katie, ‘I’m sorry, I don’t understand.’ Sometimes [she talks] and I’m just quiet an entire minute, she’ll look at me and say, ‘You don’t understand, right?’ And I’m like, ‘No.’”
Rousteing was a longtime admirer of Sorrenti, too, noting that he appreciated the photographer’s particular vision of femininity. One need only glance at, say, Sorrenti’s iconic ads for Calvin Klein Obsession or his 2012 Pirelli calendar to grasp the languid sensuality that makes him a logical choice for Balmain. It’s Sorrenti’s talent for the enigmatic, however, that’s most evident here; there’s not much skin from a lensman who’s built his name on nudes. The ads themselves serve as an allegory for Rousteing’s evolving take on sex appeal. “My first show was a lot of leg, a lot of skin, and that was my vision: body-conscious dresses. But my [latest] is all about being covered up from head to toe, and that’s my new vision of sexiness,” Rousteing said. “I still think a girl can be sexy in an oversize khaki jacket or a parka, [or] black tights and a long, midi-cut skirt. I’m growing up at the same time my collections are growing.”
Perhaps most notable, though, are the ads’ message of diversity—one that Rousteing has to some become a de facto poster boy for. “I’m French, I’m black, and I’m proud to be at Balmain, but this is a message of freedom and globalism,” he said backstage in February. Both on his catwalks and in his campaigns, the designer has been active in promoting diversity by casting girls of color and of varied backgrounds. The Fall images boast models from the Dominican Republic, Great Britain, Mexico, and the U.S. As a young designer, Rousteing’s awareness is something that’s come to him with time. “My first collection was all about making clothes, and it was really, really important for me to work on the tailor[ing] and on the clothes, but I realized that day after day and step by step, I’m not only doing clothes,” he offered. “I think fashion is all about a vision that you can give to people; it’s [about] expressing that passion. We need to show how diversity is important.” The new campaign, then, is another step in that vision. As Rousteing himself tells it, “I think it’s showing a new reality—the Balmain reality.”
The long and bitter winter we’ve endured has brought out the inner survivalist in we editors at Style.com. And based on the influx of updated utilitarian gear we noticed on the Fall ’14 runways, the extreme conditions got designers thinking more practically, too. Alexander Wang made references to hunting, mountain climbing, and other outdoor sports with his new collection, which featured functional pockets of all sorts. His Brooklyn Navy Yard show was a parade of cargo pants, suede workwear jackets, canteen bags, and efficient shifts featuring individual compartments for Moleskine notebooks, smartphones, lipsticks, and lighters—everything his downtown customer needs to pound the pavement in style. Olivier Rousteing, meanwhile, transported us to a different kind of jungle (one stalked by Amazonian supermodels, no less) with his glam safari-inspired wares at Balmain. Surplus details also turned up at Rag & Bone, Isabel Marant, Acne Studios, and 3.1 Phillip Lim. Elsewhere, Tommy Hilfiger put his own all-American spin on the industrial trend by whipping up a series of raw denim pieces and “Marlboro Man” coats that suggested, as he told Style.com, the “real heartland America.”
These fashion-forward riffs on blue-collar uniforms will appeal to girls who’ve been rocking Carhartt jackets lately. At the very least, the spacious pockets will give us reason to forgo a purse. We’ll be ready to drop everything and run when the zombie apocalypse (or the next Polar Vortex) strikes.
The Fall ’14 menswear collections have marched down the catwalk in London, Florence, and Milan, and are now under way in Paris. Before the new clothes hit the runway, we’ve asked some of the most anticipated names to offer a sneak peek. Per usual, it’s a busy time for all—designers and fashion followers alike—so we’re continuing our split-second previews: tweet-length at 140 characters or less. Our entire collection of Fall ’14 previews is available here.
WHO: Balmain, designed by Oliver Rousteing
WHEN: Thursday, January 16
WHAT: “The Balmain man seamlessly mixes the most diverse influences–from ’90s hip-hop to classic Parisian luxury. Fall ’14 is a celebration of that.” — Oliver Rousteing. The designer sent us a snap of his Fall ’14 mood board, above.