olivier rousteing on social media, diversity, and the paris attacks

The Balmain creative director hit BBC Newsnight to sound off on a wide range of topics, from his past to Paris' future.

by Charlotte Gush
Dec 9 2015, 8:47pm


Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing appeared on BBC Newsnight last night, speaking about the Paris fashion house's recent high-street collaboration with H&M. But the young designer also sounded off about a host of other topics, including his social media presence, his difficult past as an orphan, diversity on the runway, the Paris attacks and a super-awkward question about his butt-selfie. Here are our top five takeaways…

On the sincerity of social media:
"My generation is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, it's one click. I have to say that also my way of working is the same; I have to go fast. And, if you like me, you follow me, if you don't like me, you just unfollow me. So there is something really honest, that we sometimes don't have in fashion, because when you are part of a magazine, it's maybe because you are a big advertiser, whereas social media -- I think it's something really honest and sincere and real."

On his tough journey to the top:
"I come from an orphanage, I have been adopted by my white parents, I don't know where I come from... Fashion always helped me to define who I am and who I want to be. I had a tough life, I have to say… We can forget [it], but sometimes fashion is a white world. So I feel like I've been lucky, but at the same time I've worked so hard. I almost thank my past because my past has made me so strong today."

On catwalk casting diversity:
"We're going back to real bodies, to embrace real femininity, and that's what I love. All my girls are naturally different shapes, different ages, they can be [a] mom, they can be young. I love showing a reality on my catwalk and I think we are going back to that."

On the Paris attacks:
"I was in my office with my assistant, speaking about the next collection, and she asked me, 'Is it going to take long, the conversation about the next show?," and I said, 'Yes,' so she text her boyfriend and said, 'We're not going to go to the restaurant'... and this dinner was exactly at the place where they shot [people]. When we heard the news, we locked the office and just didn't want to go out," he says, adding that the subsequent rise of the far-right National Front party in France is "scary," and that, "We can't answer to an extreme story with extreme political ideas."

On the next Balmain collection
"With what's happened with Paris, I want to make sure my next collection is a reflection of beautiful France, the beautiful Paris -- Paris with the lights. So it's going to be a lot of diversity… it's going to be an homage to my country… showing that Paris is amazing and we've got to keep it strong, not forgetting that Paris is the City of Light."


Olivier Rousteing