Balmain‘s creative director Olivier Rousteing stars in WSJ. Magazine‘s popular series My Monday Morning. Olivier talks about growing stronger after accident, style, inclusion, diversity, 10-year plans, and more.
I learned that from vulnerability, you get strength. From the tears, you get freedom. After my accident happened a year ago, it was really tough for me to talk about it in public. In fashion, sometimes, you have the facade, where you pretend to be someone else and pretend to be the person people want to see. You know Balmain for the glamour and the perfectionism and all of that beauty I spread for 10 years. It was important for me to be honest with the world and keep saying, Don’t always believe what you see [on social media] because it’s not always the truth. – Rousteing
On his skin-care routine:
This is another big moment of my morning. I love to wash my face with Savon de Marseille, which is really pure. It comes from the south of France. After, I use all the products from Augustinus Bader. I usually start by putting the oil on, which is oil that calms your skin. I put some serum under my eyes, then a lip balm that’s made of honey, which hydrates your lips. I put on some Avène sunscreen. The last thing I do is The Rich Cream from Augustinus Bader—that is for my wrinkles.
On his secret to getting dressed in the morning:
The only thing I always need to wear when I leave the house is my double-breasted jacket: my navy blue, gold-buttoned Balmain double-breasted jacket. Because no matter if I go out almost in pajamas or loungewear—we all know what we’ve gone through the last two years—I always need to wear a tailored jacket to feel like I’m on top of my game. Which is sometimes not true.
On his next 10-year plan after celebrating 10 years at Balmain last September:
I don’t believe in 10-year plans. If you asked the Olivier I was 10 years ago, I never would have told you I wished to do 10 years the way that I did—not because I didn’t wish it, but just because I never know what life is about. I’ve never had a plan. The only thing I wish is to wake up with a smile every morning, the way I do now.
On always prioritizing inclusion and diversity in his work at Balmain, and whether the rest of the industry is staring to catch up:
In France, we say, Mieux vaut tard que jamais, which means “Better late than never.” I feel like the industry’s catching up, which is great. I still think there’s a lot of progress to be made. The world has changed for many years, and thank God, but the fashion industry has been really late. Many houses have started to change. Some of them are honest, some of them are, let’s say, catching the train with not truly understanding inclusion. For me, I know inclusion has always been part of my life. Being half Ethiopian and half Somalian and being a French citizen, it’s always been in my blood to push for diversity and inclusion.
On what he is reading and watching lately:
Lately, I think I’m like everybody. I go back home and watch Emily in Paris. I love seeing my city through the eyes of Emily, who’s American. I feel like it’s really fun and really peaceful and that’s what I need when I get home right now. What I’m reading right now, it’s completely crazy. I’m back to Candide by Voltaire.
On the one piece of advice that’s guided him:
It was my fashion show in 2014 and [fashion critic] Suzy Menkes saw I was really nervous. She asked why and I said, “It’s the fashion show where it’s the most me.” In 2014, I was talking about diversity and inclusion and Africa. [In 2011] I didn’t know how to express myself as much. She said, “Don’t be nervous. Be yourself. If there’s one thing you’re not going to regret in your life, it’s being yourself.”
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