Balmain Designer Olivier Rousteing Reveals Injuries After Being Severely Burned in Fireplace Explosion
Olivier Rousteing is opening up about a near-fatal incident.
On Saturday (October 9), the 36-year-old Balmain designer marked the one-year anniversary of him being severely burned in a fireplace explosion at his home.
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“A YEAR AGO. I finally feel ready to share this. I’ve been hiding this for too long and it’s time for you to know,” Olivier wrote on Instagram. “Exactly a year ago, the fireplace inside my house exploded.”
Along with his message, Olivier shared a photo of him with bandages covering his entire upper body and head, as well as burn marks on his face.
“I woke up the next morning in Paris’ Hôpital Saint Louis,” Olivier continued. “The talented staff at that famous hospital, which was dealing with an incredible number of COVID cases at that same time, took amazing care of me. I cannot thank them enough.”
Olivier went on to reveal he felt “ashamed” about his injuries and tried to keep the incident out of the press.
“I did everything to hide this story from as many people as possible and trying to keep the secret with my teams and friends for too long,” Olivier wrote. “To be honest I am not really sure why I was so ashamed, maybe this obsession with perfection that fashion is known for and my own insecurities…”
Oliver continued, “As I recovered, I just worked days and night to forget and creating all my collections, trying to keep the world dreaming with my collections and at the same time hiding the scars with face masks, turtlenecks, long sleeves and even multiple rings on all my fingers through many interviews or fotoshoots [sic].”
“And I truly realized that the power of social media is to reveal only what you want to show!” he wrote. “Kind of allowing us to create our own special narrative that avoids what we do not wish to see or show: this is our new world.”
Olivier then thanked all of his friends, family, and coworkers for helping him work on his latest Balmain collection amid his recovery.
“Now, a year later—healed, happy and healthy,” Olivier shared. “I realize how truly blessed I am and I thank GOD everyday of my life. My last show was about the celebration of healing over pain and I thank all the models the productions my team the models my Balmain family, my friends that came and supported not only my 10 years of Balmain but my rebirth.”
Olivier concluded, “Today, I feel so free, so good and so lucky. I’m beginning a new chapter with a smile on my face and a heart full of gratitude. To the doctors and nurses at Saint Louis, and to all those who helped me during this long recovery and kept my secret : a profound thank-you. I love you. GOD BLESS YOU ALL ♥️ and again never never give up ! There is always the sun after the storm.”
We’re so glad to hear that Olivier is doing better now.
Olivier Rousteing x Chivas: Luxury Whiskey
The start of the school year is certainly busy for Olivier Rousteing. Following an event runway show that celebrated his tenth anniversary as artistic director and presented his Spring/Summer 2022 collection for Balmain and an advisory role for Match Fashion’s The Innovators Program, it was a collaboration with a luxury wine which he presented.
type ? Shivaz, a luxury Scottish blend that has been graced by celebrities and who wears a signature bottle signed for the occasion Olivier Rousteing.
Olivier Rousteing designed a new bottle for Chivas
In the end, there aren’t many French designers out there to find their place in pop culture. Of course there’s the late Karl Lagerfeld, but there’s also Olivier Rousteing.
since his appointment in the artistic direction of Balmain HouseThe fashion designer never ceases to be a part of a transversal, iconoclastic culture that creates luxury while maintaining a democratic spectacle.
So it’s no surprise that a luxury Scotch whiskey brand, famous for being selectively aged 15 years in Cognac barrels, asked them to design a bottle that would only be available to the public. French and limited edition.
Olivier Rousteing said, “Those who are already familiar with my creations will soon see that this limited edition is a nod to our times, an aesthetic reference reminding us of the importance of always pushing boundaries.”
An unprecedented collaboration that sheds light on the information of Chivas House Crafted for the occasion in a golden and removable case designed and signed by a French designer.
And there’s good news, if only 400 bottles will go on sale in a pop dedicated to the limited edition. Shivaz XV by Olivier Rousteing In the courtyard of the Galleries Lafayette Champs Elysées, 200 bottles will be open for pre-reservation with a lottery system.
It’s your turn !
Chivas XV by Olivier Rousteing, available in December in the courtyard of the Galleries Lafayette Champs Elysees.
Balmain imagines pain as power for Spring/Summer 2022
The French house celebrates a decade under creative director Olivier Rousteing with bold glamour
If the last nine years of collections under creative director Olivier Rousteing left any seeds of doubt as to his genius, his tenth surely squashed them. When he assumed his role at Balmain at just 25 years old, his youth was, expectedly, perceived as a hindrance. Over the course of the last decade, Rousteing has turned those expectations on their head, milking his youth as a source of bold experimentation and cultural aptitude. “The Balmain Army has always had its ranks filled by passionate rebelles who are stubborn troublemakers,” he insists. “They’re most comfortable when they are pushing forward and nobody can stop them when they feel the need to push back.”
Balmain’s Spring/Summer 2022 collection reflects the intersections of that spirit; it is the culmination of personal experience, social reckonings, and hyper-modern technique. At the time of his accession, Rousteing was the only Black designer leading a heritage couture house. A genuine sense of responsibility for showing younger generations what’s possible has existed in his shows long before inclusivity was dominating the mission statements and press releases of competing houses.
Dresses dangle with straps and weaves appear in multitudes, all marks of the time Rousteing spent in hospital for burns. The models wear ring sets that replicate those Rousteing used to hide his own scars. The hospital tropes are handled with delicacy, paired with the famed artisanship of Balmain and its ateliers. Sharp cuts, precise tailoring, and artisan metal weaving bring an air of sophistication to the collection. The collection is uniquely sensual, with carefully exposed skin in backless menswear cuts and hips peeking from the corners of slim-fitting dresses.
Reflecting on the last decade of his work, Rousteing had us even more excited for the decade to follow; “I pledge to continue to push for more inclusion, more democracy and more openness,” he says. “Here’s to the next decade of sharing our joy-filled signature mix of fashion and music with more and more of those who wish to enter into the Balmain universe.”
The Show’s the Thing: Creativity, Emotion, and Experimentation on the Spring 2022 Runways
Mykki Blanco and co. at Marni Photo: Acielle / Style du Monde
Being back in the room again, to me it seemed that rising above the runway throng required emotion and experimentation. Even better if the two went hand-in-hand, as they did at Francesco Risso’s captivating Marni show in Milan, which combined audience participation (he dressed everyone who agreed in upcycled archive pieces), entertainment (Mykki Blanco read poetry, and Szela was accompanied by a heavenly chorus on an original Dev Hynes song), and a cast that reflected the multiplicity of the real world. And the fashion? It looked like the fruit of thoughtful labor, not factory-sealed corporate product. Risso said his idea “was about going back to the practice of what we do, which is making clothes for people, one to one.”
Paris’s prize for a runway rethink goes to Balenciaga, where the red carpet arrivals line was the show. Inside at the Théâtre du Chatelet, we watched as Cardi B, Lewis Hamilton, and Isabelle Huppert, side-by-side with members of the Balenciaga studio, vamped for the cameras under the tents outside. The show’s mastermind, creative director Demna Gvasalia, reprised the masked look he wore to the Costume Institute ball back in New York, prompting my colleague Luke Leitch, always quick with a pun, to dub the production the “Meta Gala.” And that wasn’t all. Once Gvasalia and co. had taken their seats we watched the premiere of a mini Simpsons episode, in which the Balenciaga atelier descends on Springfield for another fashion show, this one starring Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and the baby, plus all the locals. Vogue’s own Anna Wintour makes a cameo. “It’s more like a music or movie business, in the way you can convey things,” Gvasalia said of his work these days. “I like exploring these borders.” Fashion, as a rule, underestimates the power of humor. But not him.
Another thing that the industry has gotten wrong for too long: its insistence on exclusivity. Olivier Rousteing’s 6,000-person audience at Balmain was mostly clients and fans, and their wild cheers for Precious Lee and Alva Claire were a lesson in thinking beyond the industry’s narrow definition of aspirational. As Eugenie Trochu, the new editorial content lead at Paris Vogue, told me, Olivier is “representative of the new way of thinking in the fashion world: to connect to your audience, your followers, and to be more open.”
At Paris Fashion Week, designers presented a sexy summer dresscode
“Back to business” might have been the way to describe the latest edition of Paris Fashion Week if the clothing on display hadn’t been so wonderfully inappropriate for most traditional workplaces.
Locking in a trend that began to take hold in the preceding fashion weeks in New York, London and Milan, sexy, barely-there designs made an appearance at numerous runway shows and presentations. Hemlines were high and midriffs were exposed as designers laid bare parts of the body that many of us have kept wrapped up in loungewear during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The nineties and early noughts also continued to dominate, with many labels offering their high-fashion take on the often questionable street style of a generation of flip phone users. (Scroll for Miu Miu’s take on the “is it a belt or is it a skirt?” mini).
And while previously seen themes relating to public health, lockdown and uncertainty were largely abandoned this season, the week closed out with an emotive tribute to the late designer Alber Elbaz, who died of Covid-19 in April, reminding attendees that the pandemic is far from over.
Read on for more impressions from Paris Fashion Week.
Big shows are back
After months of pandemic-related disruption, more brands than ever chose to return to the physical show format and some of them went big – no more so than the French luxury house Balmain. To celebrate creative director Olivier Rousteing’s 10-year anniversary with the brand, an enormous show was staged within Paris' La Seine Musicale on a river island, in the western suburbs of the city. The two-day event was part music festival, part collection unveiling. The runway show opened with a pre-recorded audio message from Beyoncé, praising Rousteing’s efforts to “to keep pushing that door open wider, making sure that others can also have opportunities for reaching their dreams” throughout his career.
Meanwhile, Parisian fashion staple Saint Laurent returned to its show venue of choice, the Eiffel Tower, and Chanel sparked joy on Tuesday with an event that took the catwalk show format back to the ’80s, when models would prance and twirl down the runway to the delight of shouty photographers who flanked the stage. In the show notes, the brand’s creative head, Virginie Viard, wrote that she used to “love the sound of flashbulbs going off at the shows in the eighties” and she wanted to recreate that atmosphere for today.
Balenciaga arguably grabbed the most headlines when it brought the characters of “The Simpsons” to fashion week, thanks to a 10-minute episode crafted exclusively for the brand. The episode was screened live at the Théâtre du Châtelet after a red carpet event that surreptitiously seeded the new collection amongst editors, buyers, models, celebrities and friends of the house.
On the subject of the return of the fashion spectacle, Rick Owens, who put on his first show in Paris since the start of the pandemic, told CNN Style, “Everybody is going to want to flex. Everyone is going to want to show that they are stronger than ever, that they’re more powerful than ever. It’s a little horrifying, but I get it.”
British designer Stella McCartney, well known for her early and consistent dedication to sustainable fashion design, made the last-minute decision to stage a show in Paris after holding a series of virtual events during the height of the pandemic. Set within a trippy modernist building designed by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, the show opened with a voiceover by mycelium expert Paul Stamets, who starred in 2019 documentary “Fantastic Fungi” about the healing, regenerative and sustainable properties of mushrooms, declaring that,“In fashion, mushrooms are the future.” On the runway, the brand presented its latest “leather” handbag made with Mylo, a trademarked material derived from mushrooms, developed by Bolt Threads. The new collection was made from 63% eco-friendly materials, according to a press release.
At Louis Vuitton, where a series of elaborate headpieces and eyewear stood out amid a rich, heavily layered collection, a protester stormed the runway with a sign reading “Overconsumption = Extinction,” before being removed by security. Suspicious minds wondered if the brand was in on the stunt, but Louis Vuitton declined to comment on the incident.
Marine Serre, one of France’s most promising young designers, continued to prioritize conscious design with her latest collection, which she presented via a short film. As a starting point for this season, Serre wrote in the show notes that she wanted to imagine “what the future could look like if we were to change our habits and think more deeply about the food we eat, the way we move through life and the clothes we wear.” According to the brand, the collection was made from 45% recycled and 45% regenerated materials, making this its most sustainable effort yet.
The return of sexy
In a stark departure from low-key pandemic dress codes, overtly sexy outfits were seen everywhere. Chanel presented a series of ’90s inspired black-and-white swimsuits, while Miu Miu offered up low-slung miniskirts reminiscent of the ones worn by Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie at the height of their “The Simple Life” fame.
Lacoste, Valentino and Chloé all presented belly-baring looks, and Stella McCartney had fun with cutouts in her breezy collection.
Diversity did not prevail
While sexy was back it, seems it was back only for those with tiny, traditionally model-esque frames. Disabled people, older models, and plus-size figures were visibly underrepresented throughout the week in what felt like a step backward for the industry.
Devil in the details
This season’s sense of optimism was reflected in a number of whimsical details spotted throughout the week. At Loewe, a series of delightful heels shaped as nail varnish bottles, birthday candles and cracked eggs were a welcome surprise within a collection the brand’s creative director Jonathan Anderson described as “neurotic, psychedelic, completely hysterical,” in the show notes.
Neon eyeliner cut across the eye like mini lightning bolts at Chloé, while a chic double flick was seen on models in the Dior show. Schiaparelli provided an alternative for rainy summer days with its playful umbrella hat, paired with a striped, long-sleeved bodysuit.
Farewell to a friend of the fashion industry
After a week of joy-inducing collection unveilings, fashion week closed with an emotional tribute to one of the industry’s most beloved designers, Alber Elbaz, who died of Covid-19 in April, only months after launching his new brand, AZ Factory.
On Tuesday night the fashion industry came together at the grand hall of Le Carreau du Temple to witness a special tribute show. Aptly named “Love Brings Love,” the event brought together 45 of fashion’s most noted designers and houses including Valentino and Loewe, who each contributed one look to the show. It was their love letter to Elbaz, whose generosity and spirit touched many. “To me, Alber was heart, soulful and generosity,” Valentino’s creative director, Pierpaolo Piccioli, told CNN Style.
The show opened with Elbaz’s longtime partner, Alex Koo, addressing the audience. “Alber would have been incredibly honoured to be surrounded by his peers, colleagues, collaborators, friends and family,” Koo said.
“He touched the hearts of everyone he has met with humour and plenty of generosity. He made us laugh. He made us cry. And he made us dream. His dream was to reunite the best talents of our industry to celebrate love, beauty, and hope. And tonight, his dream becomes a reality.”
Top image: The finalé at Chloé
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