News & Runway

Designer Dossier: Olivier Rousteing for Balmain

Olivier RousteingWho is Olivier Rousteing? He's the handsome, current, and almost impossibly young designer of the storied French house of Balmain, which began in 1945. Originally known for elegance and frothy concoctions, the house was shaken up by the designer Christophe Decarnin in the twenty-first century with a serious rock n roll edge. By 2009, Decarnin's models were strutting for the house of Balmain in studded ripped tees and equally shredded jeans. Models hadn't looked this cool in ages and the fashion industry responded with praise and adulation, however far from its original aesthetic Decarnin had deviated. 

Working underneath Decarnin was an unknown twenty-something by the name of Olivier Rousteing. Before his move to Balmain, he worked for Roberto Cavalli. He is a native Frenchman, having grown up in Bordeaux. He is adopted, studied at a Parisian fashion school known as ESMOD, but beyond that, not much is known about him. He took the reins from Decarnin after the designer announced he was leaving Balmain due to health concerns. As a virtual unknown in the fashion industry, few knew what to expect before Rousteing unveiled his first collection, spring 2011, but any concerns over his talent have since subsided. In a rare interview with, before his first collection, the young designer revealed that he wanted to bring the house back to some of its original glory by providing a couture look and feel that hadn't been present under Decarnin's watch. He strives to bring glory to the "classic" style of French dressing and wants to add a softer, more dressed up feel to the house. Do you think he's pulled it off? Check out some of our favorite recent looks to decide for yourself.