Given the reach of his Balmain army, Olivier Rousteing’s sit-down interview with Alina Cho this fall is sure to be a ticket in hot demand. Balmain’s creative director will launch the third season of “The Atelier With Alina Cho” on Oct. 18 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The two will have a lot of ground to cover, given Balmain’s recent acquisition by Mayhoola for Investments, the Qatar-based sovereign wealth fund that is also behind Valentino and Pal Zileri.
Roustseing’s conversation with Cho is expected to detail how he revived Balmain after taking on the helm in 2011 at the age of 25. At that time, he was crowned as one of the youngest designers to oversee a French house. He will detail how he has done so by “relying on the house’s tradition of artisanal excellence while creating a new modern silhouette and offerings for Balmain’s diverse, young ‘army,’” according to a Met press release.
The celebrity-obsessed attendees will no doubt be more curious about Rousteing’s pals Kim Kardashian, Kendall Jenner, Kanye West, Gigi Hadid and the rest of the gang. But they aren’t his only famous followers. Rousteing has 3.6 million thanks to his own Instagram account and 4.9 million via Balmain’s.
After growing up in Bordeaux, France, Rousteing studied fashion at Paris’ Ecole Supérieure des Arts et Techniques de la Mode. During a five-year run at Roberto Cavalli, he took on the role of designer for women’s and men’s ready-to-wear. After joining Balmain, Rousteing spent two years as part of the house’s design team before being tapped as head of design. Many non-designer shoppers also know his name from his collaborations with H&M and Nike.
In his Q&A with Cho, who is editor at large at Ballantine Bantam Dell, Rousteing may have the chance to get into what lies ahead business-wise. With 17 directly owned stores in China, Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong and Dubai, the company is looking to add more boutiques with Los Angeles, Singapore and a third Hong Kong location being at the top of that list. Rousteing’s boss, Balmain’s chief executive officer Emmanuel Diemoz, told WWD last month that the company’s handbag business will be ramped up and the label plans to roll out an expanded range of footwear next year.