Balmain: Resort 2022
2021 is a massive year for Olivier Rousteing. Not only is the designer toasting to 10 years since he took the helm of Balmain, but the house itself is also celebrating its 75th anniversary. Though, between navigating these huge milestones, Rousteing has been on his own journey of self-discovery. He’s been filming his new Netflix documentary Wonder Boy – available to stream June 26 – which follows the designer searching for information on his own origins, including the histories of his birth parents.
“That search has helped me to grow to understand that I am the product of numerous strands and histories,” writes Rouesteing, who was adopted as a child. “I contain multitudes: the orphan adopted by the loving parents in Bordeaux, the passionate fan of the films, series and music of my youth, the designer devoted to the transformative power of couture, the vrai parisien – and, now, I have learned that I am also an African.”
He reflects on life growing up in Bordeaux, where he was raised by his adopted parents, and is proud to have grown up within a melting pot of cultures. He has often wondered where exactly he came from. “I sometimes allowed myself to be convinced that my heritage could be ultimately traced to the Caribbean, the Maghreb, Central Africa… and many other lands from a long list of possibilities,” says Rousteing. “These questions and hypotheses were, ultimately, an incredible gift – allowing me to be constantly aware of and curious to learn more about the many beautiful contributions helping to shape this continually evolving country.”
For Resort 2022, Rousteing offsets pillars to Pierre Balmain’s New French Style with ethereal patterns, embellishments and sillhoutes that “look to the richness of the arts and traditions of the lands that I now know were those of my birth father and mother – and me”, says the designer. The collection’s mesmerising patterns are inspired by artisanal, rich weavings from the Horn of Africa, paired alongside the house’s 50-year-old Labyrinth Pattern. Rousteing signatures – structural going-out dresses, power suits, lavish eveningwear – are worn alongside new Balmain additions, most notably swollen denim jeans and elegant, draped gowns – making for a wardrobe deserving of its own silver screen moment.
With a Netflix doc on the way, as well as the second Balmain music-fashion festival set to take place in September (to benefit (RED)’s fight against world pandemics), 10 years in Olivier Rousteing has no sights on slowing down.
Photography courtesy of Balmain.