I interviewed Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing for the December issue of Vogue Australia. Extract is below, but you can click here to read it in full!
I arrive 10 minutes early for my interview with Balmain’s creative director Olivier Rousteing at the house’s atelier in Paris, and while I wait I do what one does with one’s spare time: I check my Instagram. Coincidentally, just at that moment Rousteing uploads a photo to his feed of Rihanna wearing a double denim look and showing some serious side boob. A few minutes later he publishes a shot of Claudia Schiffer, circa early 1990s, lying on the ground cupping her bare breasts, while another model holds her denim clad legs in the air. The accompanying hash tags are: #denimfriday, #sexyjeans, #young, #powerful, #modern, #love, #fierce. I’m not familiar with denim Friday, but I know that the other tags carry more weight than generic search terms: they are a call to arms for the modern Balmain woman, dazzling fashion warrior that she is.
At 10am on the dot, we both down our iPhones, and I’m ushered into his office. Rihanna’s Right Now is playing in the background and Rousteing looks rested and as attractive in the flesh as people say he is. He’s just returned from a three-week break in Mykonos, which was “heaven”, he says, though it got off to a rocky start. “My boyfriend and I broke up the day before the holiday started, so I was a bit sad, but I had all my friends with me and in the end it was fine.”
Since his return he’s been working tirelessly on his spring/summer ’14 collection, which (at the time of this interview) he has just under a month to complete. Spring will be an evolution of some of the ideas seen in autumn/winter ’13/’14. “I want to keep the spirit of the last winter; not the powerful 80s lady, but winter was important, because it was back to the rules, back to the French house,” he explains. “I want to keep the spirit of French Parisian house, with fabrics that remind you of old French touch, like hound’s-tooth, vichy … comment dit-on vichy en anglais?”
He rushes to the door and sticks his head around the corner. “Can I ask a question? How do you say vichy in English?” “Gingham!” calls out a voice.
“Thank you,” he sings back, and then looks at me with a smile.