Olivier Rousteing on the Importance of Breaking the Rules

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Olivier Rousteing Reinvents Balmain (With Help From His Instagram Friends)

Olivier Rousteing, the creative director of Balmain, wants to make the French fashion house relevant to a new generation — and his 4.6 million Instagram followers are paying attention. We take you inside his Paris studio.


Publish Date September 25, 2017.


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In the latest installment of this series that goes inside the private working worlds of designers, Olivier Rousteing, creative director of Balmain, discusses the importance of loud music, breaking rules and facing down his critics. And that’s just what didn’t make it into the video. This interview has been edited and condensed.

Where is your favorite place to work?

I am obsessed with my office. It is like my second home. We have this beautiful new six-story building and I have my own stunning glass room right up at the very top, filled with my favorite things — so I can look down and check on everything going on on the floors below. It makes me so happy. Although in summer it is absolutely boiling. Sometimes the A.C. doesn’t work and, as I sketch day and night, including through the weekends, I get so sweaty that droplets fall on my sketches. You can’t have it all, I guess.

What is the most important thing in your office?

My music. The amount of hours per day I sketch is the same amount I listen to music. That can be up to 10 hours a day — I sketch all my collections up here on my own. And I listen to music really loud. The louder it is, the more I give to my sketches. I also listen to music to and from work, and when I work out. It is my way to escape, and how I dream. Music was my first obsession, and if I had to choose between music and fashion, I don’t think I could. That’s why I have so many great musicians in my campaigns, like Kanye or Rihanna. It means I can represent my two great loves together at the same time.

What are your favorite songs?

My playlists, like my fashion shows, are totally mixed — what might come up next is a bit of a mystery. They can go from David Bowie to Rihanna, Ed Sheeran to Prince. I don’t believe in the idea of…

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