At Balmain, French Fashion’s Race Breakthrough


Olivier Rousteing’s appointment as the new designer at Balmain came as a bit of a letdown to fashion insiders. No one doubts that Rousteing, 25 years old, is qualified for the job, but he doesn’t come with a big reputation and a glossy image.

In recent years, it’s almost been a requirement that any designer tapped to run a major fashion house bring star power along with the resume. But perhaps those days are coming to a close. Rousteing, a veritable unknown, had been quietly laboring behind the scenes at Balmain since 2009 under its recently departed designer, Christophe Decarnin, who re-energized the house with his signature rock ‘n’ roll style. Before that, Rousteing spent five years working his way up to head of design for women’s and men’s collections for Roberto Cavalli—the Italian designer who makes Bacchus look restrained.

In reality, though, Rousteing brings something far more interesting than millions of Google hits: diversity.

Read the full story by Robin Givhan at The Daily Beast!