Early life and education
Rousteing was adopted by his parents at the age of 1. Rousteing's mother is an optician, while his father is a seaport manager. He grew up in Bordeaux and moved to Paris to study at ESMOD (Ecole Supérieure des Arts et Techniques de la Mode). Like Jacquemus, he dropped out in his first year citing lack of creative freedom. After completing internships in Italy, in 2003, Rousteing began his career as a designer at Roberto Cavalli and went on to become the head of the label's women's division.
In 2003, he graduated and began his career as a designer at Roberto Cavalli, where he was promoted to creative director of the Italian label's women's ready-to-wear collection, serving for five years in that position. Rousteing joined Balmain in 2009. During his early time at Balmain he worked closely with Christophe Decarnin, then the French fashion house's creative director.
On 26 April 2011, at 25 years old, Olivier Rousteing replaced Christophe Decarnin as the creative director of Balmain. While he liked Decarnin's aesthetic, he wanted to orient the label towards the finer aspects of French couture. At the time of his appointment, Rousteing was a relatively unknown designer, and brought a much-needed fresh take on the brand's aesthetic that remains to this day. He has been credited with adding an Asian influence to the clothing, as Asia comprises a huge part of the brand's buyers. Rousteing says his age, initial anonymity, and especially race led to grumblings amongst the fashion establishment. "People were like, 'Oh my God, he's a minority taking over a French house!'" Rousteing told Out magazine in 2015.
Since his arrival, menswear now accounts for 40 percent of Balmain's revenue. While the company did not release figures, it was estimated that Balmain's revenue increased 15 to 20 percent between 2012 and 2015. Rousteing opened a Balmain store in London, Balmain's stand-alone boutique outside of Paris. A New York City store opened in SoHo in April 2016. Other stores are in the planning stage.
With the help of A-List celebrity friends like Kim Kardashian, Kelly Rowland, Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, Björk, Beyoncé, Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown, EMFAM and various models, including those from Victoria's Secret, Rousteing helped Balmain become the first French label to pass the million-follower plateau on Instagram.
Rousteing was adopted and is openly gay. Though he had previously believed he was of mixed race, in 2019 he discovered that his birth mother is Somali from Djibouti and his birth father Ethiopian.
- in french : https://www.elle.fr/Personnalites/Olivier-Rousteing
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- Olivier Rousteing Vogue
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