Man of Mystery: Balmain’s New Designer

Less than a month after Christophe Decarnin mysteriously and erratically cut ties with Balmain, the line has found its new head designer with Olivier Rousteing. The appointment is something of a promotion for Rousteing, who had been in charge of the house’s Women’s Wear studio since 2009. An unknown to many in the fashion industry, Rousteing has the unenviable task of calming the waters at the storied fashion house after Decarnin’s abrupt exit amid rumors of infighting with CEO Alain Hivelin and a notable disappearance at the line’s Fall show.

Picking Rousteing as head designer signals that the line’s distinctive, luxe, and edgy glam-rock chic—favored by no less than Emmanuelle Alt of French Vogue—is most likely safe. Prior to joining Balmain, Rousteing got his start working a five year stint with Roberto Cavalli before making the jump. Raised in Bordeaux region of France, Rousteing studied at the École Supérieure des Arts et Techniques de la Mode (ESMOD) finishing school in 2003. While the state of Balmain remains in creative flux, the new designer assures his plan, “To honour that confidence by ensuring that Pierre Balmain always remains one of the leading brands that others look to as a reference.”