This mega show, heavy on gold and famous models, marked Olivier Rousteing’s 10 years at the helm.
“Your designs have made me feel so powerful,” Beyoncé said, lending her velvety voice to the Balmain mega show celebrating Olivier Rousteing’s 10 years at the creative helm.
In a recorded message, the music superstar explained how she met the French designer backstage at a Paris concert in 2013, and would later call on him frequently to dress her for arenas, stadiums and festivals, including Coachella in 2018.
“We showed the world what’s possible when two perfectionists get together,” she said with a laugh. “We’re all looking forward to the next 10 years.”
It was an electrifying way to kick off festivities at the Seine Musical concert venue, where thousands of cell phones were hoisted when the first model sashayed down the vast, gleaming white stage in a black bodysuit riddled with cutouts and trailing multiple streamers.
This slick, confident and occasionally stirring spectacle — which climaxed with supermodels striding out one-by-one in spectacular archival dresses and smiling sweetly — perfectly encapsulated Rousteing’s legacy, and some of his struggles.
His devotion to diversity, proximity to pop culture and frankness on social media — “This is my reality” is his Instagram motto — were fully on display. Loud cheers erupted whenever a plus-size model strode out, and the young crowd lapped up the late 1990s-early Aught tracks from female artists. (Members of the public pledged a minimum donation of 15 euros to (RED) and the Global Fund, which fight against HIV and AIDS, to attend the spectacle. Performances by Doja Cat and Franz Ferdinand followed the runway shenanigans.)
His bandage dresses for spring 2022 looked striking on stage, but they were also part of his reality, disclosing in the show notes that one year ago he suffered painful burns in an accident, requiring hospital stays, months of physical therapy and thick gold rings on every knuckle of his fingers to hide scars during recovery.
“By embracing that previous pain and celebrating the power of healing, somehow I’ve been able to translate them into beautiful components of my designs,” he said.
During an interview with WWD about his first decade at Balmain, Rousteing admitted his bold fashions have earned fervid devotees — the business has grown sevenfold under his watch — and stubborn detractors.
Yet he soldiers on with growing confidence, trusting his instincts while exalting the legacy of founder Pierre Balmain and the savoir-faire of the French house’s ateliers.
His spring collection is certainly in line with the sexy, skin-baring trend, his catsuits pockmarked with portholes, his clingy knit dresses a lattice of openings and his clingy pants slashed to bare one hip.
Apart from a few sharp-shouldered tuxedo jackets whittled down into bodysuits, Rousteing went for mostly oversize, languid and sometimes lopsided tailoring. Striped shirts and sweaters slid off shoulders, while the sleeves of blazers and bomber jackets often hung past the fingertips.
Outsized gold chains appeared as offbeat harness-like tops and quirky quilted clutch bags. More delicate gold chains came in delicate swags on a sleeveless top or woven into a dazzling pencil skirt.
Rousteing recolored some of the most elaborate designs from the recent past in metallic hues for the retrospective portion of the show, with the likes of Naomi Campbell, Milla Jovovich, Cindy Bruna, Karen Elson, Liu Wen, Adut Akech, Mariacarla Boscono and Carla Bruni poured into these wonders of weaving, quilting, embroidery and beading.
The combination of star power, haute craftsmanship and kind expressions was impactful. Happy anniversary Olivier!