Olivier Rousteing’s Latest Balmain Show Is A Letter To His 10-Year-Old Self

Held in the opulent Palais Garnier, the opera house in the heart of Paris, Balmain’s spring 2018 show was a celebration of dreams becoming reality, as creative director Olivier Rousteing reminisced on his childhood ambitions.

In the show notes — or rather, “a note to me, twenty-two years ago” — Rousteing wrote to his younger self: “This sense of awe that you’re feeling, as you walk into Garnier’s dazzling opera house, won’t be just a one-time thing. Of course, the intensity will diminish over the years, but I can tell you — 22 years after this moment — that this same émerveillement will hit you each and every time you return. Yes, right now you might just be a 10-year-old kid from the provinces, wrapping up your first visit to the capital with a night at the opera but this is destined to become a guiding memory for you, crystalizing into another symbol of the future that you dream about — just like those music posters plastered across your bedroom walls and all those fashion editorials that you keep tearing out of magazines.”

Photo: Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho/WireImage.
Photo: Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho/WireImage.

Earlier this year, some two decades after his first visit, Rousteing’s designs were worn by Les Etoiles de l’Opéra during a ballet premiere at the world-famous opera house. On Thursday, his creations were again on display in the decadent setting, the perfect backdrop to his equally sumptuous and ostentatious designs. Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” began as Natalia Vodianova entered the gilded room wearing a patent jumpsuit over a white cut-out blouse. Many more supermodels, those admired by Rousteing in his teenage years, followed, including Bianca Balti, Natasha Poly, Alessandra Ambrosio, and Raquel Zimmermann. The designer’s close friends, including Kendall Jenner and Gigi and Bella Hadid, however, were notably absent.

Photo: Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho/WireImage.
Photo: Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho/WireImage.

Rousteing’s Balmain Army was dressed mostly in a monochrome palette that was embellished and adorned with fringing, sequins, ribbed leather, gold chains, and beading. As the soundtrack continued with a host of female singers (including Banks, Tatu, and Florence and the Machine), the collection featured the typical silhouettes we’ve come to expect from his collections: bodycon silhouettes, exaggerated shoulders, cinched waists, flesh-baring cut-outs, and a lot of ruffles. There were sequin T-shirts and trousers for Rousteing’s still over-the-top take on casual wear, while a series of patriotic red and blue dresses added a flash of color to the selection.

Whether or not you’ve fallen for Rousteing’s A-list-adored, maximalist vision for the historic French fashion house and been swept up in Balmania, his latest offering was a pleasant reminder to believe in yourself and follow your heart’s desires. As he summarized in the show notes: “And from where I am now, I know one thing: dreams like yours sometimes actually do come true.”

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