At Paris Fashion Week this month, the likes of Beyoncé, Doja Cat, Naomi Campbell and Carla Bruni came together to honour Olivier Rousteing‘s 10th anniversary as creative director of Balmain. As the first Black man to stand at the helm of a French luxury house, it was incredibly special. But little did we know at the time, the Spring/Summer 2022 runway was far more meaningful for the designer than we thought.
In addition to the Maison’s intricately embellished mini dresses and signature beaded gowns, Balmain also showcased a number of bandage dresses. For Rousteing, it referenced the long health battle he faced when his fireplace exploded, causing the designer’s torso to be bandaged right to his finger tips. On Instagram the 36-year-old shared his journey. He admitted he was ashamed of the scars and tried to keep it a secret.
“Exactly a year ago, the fireplace inside my house exploded,” the creative wrote on social media. “I woke up the next morning in Paris’ Hôpital Saint Louis. The talented staff at that famous hospital, which was dealing with an incredible number of COVID cases at that same time, took amazing care of me. I cannot thank them enough.
“To be honest I am not really sure why I was so ashamed, maybe this obsession with perfection that fashion is known for and my own insecurities… As I recovered, I just worked days and night to forget and creating all my collections, trying to keep the world dreaming with my collections and at the same time hiding the scars with face masks, turtlenecks, long sleeves and even multiple rings on all my fingers through many interviews or fotoshoots (sic).
“My last show was about the celebration of healing over pain and I thank all the models the productions my team the models my Balmain family, my friends that came and supported not only my 10 years of Balmain but my rebirth,” Rousteing added.
Just hours later Rousteing shared a snippet of his latest collection.
“Rebirth & Freedom 🩹, ” he captioned the post. “I remember the long conversations I had with my doctor @drserror that I can’t thank enough and he told me: you will be fine, it’s gonna be fine. I remember when they took out all my bandages it felt FREEDOM 🤍.”