Olivier Rousteing On His London Flagship Store, Selfie Guidance And What It Takes To Be In The Balmain Army

EXCLUSIVE: Olivier Rousteing Reveals His Selfie Tips


by Grazia |

Olivier Rousteing’s impressive tenure at Balmain took yet another momentous step towards to global – nay, universal - domination today with the opening of a London flagship store on South Audley Street. Nestled in a cosy and luxurious pocket of Mayfair, this new shop, designed by architect Joseph Dirand, is as welcoming and charming as the creative director himself. Fresh from a storming show at Paris Fashion Week Olivier hopped across the Channel in order to personally introduce the fashion press to this retail landmark. He talked GraziaDaily through the ingenious reason behind the olive green sofas in-store (it’s more important than you think) and the fact that London girls really do sexy ‘way better’ than our Parisian counterparts. And, hallelujah, he dished out some decent, honest selfie guidance.

The store interiors were of the utmost importance, transporting the rich, couture-style of the Paris boutique into London-friendly territory: ‘As you can imagine in the store in Paris, it’s very French, baroque… here we keep the DNA with the colours and the lightness, quality, the richness of this couture feeling, [but] to feel more cosy and intimate because I think it’s what is London, like this warm feeling and emotion. Like the pubs, this intimacy belongs to London more than Paris.’

Inside the Balmain store on South Audley Street, London.
Inside the Balmain store on South Audley Street, London.

So could one find Olivier in a pub any time soon? ‘Oh yes. You know what, I love London, it’s really easy for me to do this day because it’s really a city I’ve embraced… I feel like London is closet to my aesthetic in a way.’

And as for the colour choices – the neutrals and marble represent Olivier’s own home interiors and the khaki green sofas have a special purpose: ‘The olive has always been something really important in my collections. Last winter collection was all olive and khaki, also the mix with the olive goes well with the entire collection, [so] whatever colour is in the collection it will go well.'

Does he think London girls can be as sexy as the French? ‘Way more sexy!’ he exclaims. ‘They dare and they risk way more than in France. That’s what I love about London. Girls try. Girls actually want to risk and they want to actually push their boundaries and their limits… I mean in Paris, except like a pair of jeans and a leather jacket, you don’t see so many girls in a different way.’

Upon entering the store GD bumped into a good-looking young guy who said Balmain was his favourite brand and that he buys a new t-shirt every time he had a big night out – this is of course very different from a red carpet star or a power-dressing woman, and only serves to further highlight the broad spectrum of Balmain shoppers. ‘I’m so proud to sell a $25000 dress as much as a young kid buying the Balmain Paris [tee] showing that he’s adapting my vision and being part of my world and I think that’s so touching,’ Olivier tells us.

Talking of getting into Olivier and Balmain’s world, it’s hard not to notice how smokin’ hot Mr Rousteing looks in his selfies. What are his tips? ‘Fish face, suck in cheek and three quarter [angle]. Good filter and it’s fine. And 25 pictures before getting the right one. Maybe not 25, maybe 3 or 4!’

Gigi Hadid, Kendall, Kim Kardashian, Olivier Rousteing and Rosie Huntington Whiteley [Rex]

Selfies, campaigns, runways and parties with many of his Balmain 'army' girls highlights how diversity is an integral element in Rousteing’s work. The Balmain crew is a celebration of many women – from Cara Delevingne to Rihanna to Jane Fonda. ‘I can tell you, I have really a lot of fun with Rosie Huntington Whiteley but I can share so many different things with Kim [Kardashian West]. I think the Balmain army is about diversity. And I think that the diversity is about having different girls and different body shapes and I think as a designer it’s important you can't always dress the same girl, same body and still be inspired. I think you have to open your mind and eyes to different girls. The common thing is that they are all strong. I have fun with Binx and she’s completely different to Kim.’

One woman who often pops up on his feed is of course, Mrs Kardashian West. But what makes her a great Balmain girl? ‘The power. She’s a power woman. She’s a businesswoman and she’s a woman of this new world. I mean, I could speak about Kim for, like, 24 hours, I just love her as a friend, as a personality, as everything,’ says Olivier. ‘Whatever you’re going to hate, whatever you’re going to love, she’s going to stand out. As a businesswoman it’s 10 seasons of her reality TV show - which is way more than many other…. she’s got an amazing family. To tell you the truth, when I was 15 I had no identification to a mixed race couple… now I think [Kim and Kanye’s marriage] shows that it is the new world.’ He adds that: ‘Kim is really inspiring me otherwise, like her choices and her culture, she likes old French brands that I love, she loves the mix and match of different clothes, she has a really good aesthetic and vision on fashion.’

It's clear to see that the young, handsome, kind and connected Rousteing does not see his clique as a marketing ploy to pique the interest of consumers and the fashion crowds. 'It looks so natural, but it’s not only looking like natural it actually is natural, and that’s why we go along together because we can actually talk and we can cry together, we can smile together, it’s just like a real connection with those girls... I believe in what Kim does, I believe in what Rih [Rihanna does]. I believe in what Rosie does. And they believe in what I do. It’s a matter of connection, not only a matter of casting or fitting and that’s important, you can feel the emotion.'

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