Even if you’ve never worn (or touched) a piece of Balmain clothing, you’re most definitely familiar with the face of the brand. No, no Kim Kardashian West or Kanye West—although they wear a ton the iconic French brand and have fronted a campaign. We’re talking about the man who dazzled everyone in the fashion world when he assumed the position of creative director at the age of 25: Olivier Rousteing.
In an intimate talk last night as a part of The Atelier With Alina Cho at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the designer talked all about his life, upbringing, design philosophy, and so much more. Below we rounded up the five most interesting tidbits we heard.
Keep scrolling for our recap, but if you have time, we recommend watching the full hour-long discussion at the bottom of the page.
He wants everyone in on the fashion conversation.
“Balmain is really diverse because diversity, for me, is one of the most important topics in fashion,” says Rousteing, whose runways have always reflected this philosophy in their model castings. It’s a core principle for the brand and one that he’s not shying away from anytime soon. “That’s what is modern today; that’s what is fashion.”
He’s incredibly choosy about who he dresses.
“I would never dress someone that I don’t believe in, I don’t like their music, I don’t like his world or her world. People I dress are people that I love, that I believe in, that inspire me.”
His cheekbones come at a cost (not the monetary kind).
Rousteing says that his most famous facial asset is the result of sucking in his cheeks “so hard,” he jokes. “I think there’s blood or they’re blue inside.”
His now famous nude cover of Tetu magazine taught his own family a lot about him.
Rousteing paints a picture of his grandfather coming across the cover of the magazine during his usual errands where he lives in the South of France and being surprised. “They learned about my life,” he says of his family. “All my confessions, all my secrets. They opened that magazine and they saw.”
There’s only one other fashion house he would work for.
“Mine,” he says, plain and simple. Although he didn’t point to any immediate plans to launch an Olivier Rousteing label, he does suggest that it’s a possibility in the future. “It’s part of a process.”
Watch on for so many more inspiring quotes and fascinating stories from Balmain’s creative director.