Olivier Rousteing has signed with CAA, WWD has learned exclusively.
The talent agency “will work closely with Rousteing to explore new business-building opportunities in entertainment and popular culture that are complementary to his role as Balmain creative director,” noted CAA. “In particular, Rousteing looks forward to working with the CAA Foundation, the agency’s philanthropic arm, to explore initiatives that will allow him to use his unique position, voice and visibility to help others and support needed changes in fashion and society.”
Rousteing was just 25 years old when he was named creative director of Balmain in 2011.
Born in Bordeaux, France, the designer graduated from the Paris fashion school École supérieure des arts et techniques de la mode prior to joining Balmain, where he worked for two years before taking on the role of creative director. He was formerly at Roberto Cavalli in Milan for five years.
“It was a moment where there was not so much sexiness and confidence in the fashion system,” Rousteing has told WWD of his initial attraction to Balmain. “But Balmain was really glamorous, with a touch of rock ‘n’ roll. It was craftsmanship versus casual; glamour versus effortless; the Parisian aesthetic versus maximal, so this is what I liked at the time.”
Rousteing made an immediate impression in Hollywood, populating his “Balmain army” with the Kardashians, who were front row fixtures at his early shows, and big-name models (even uniting Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell and Claudia Schiffer to star in a campaign). He did it while showcasing a message of power and inclusivity that was new to the rarified fashion industry at the time.
He was one of the youngest designers to take on such a title at a major house, and also the first Black designer to oversee all the collections at Balmain.
“I think I’ve always been really vocal about my skin color,” Rousteing told WWD, speaking on the subject. “I’ve always been vocal about diversity, but I don’t think fashion wanted to see it. Today fashion realizes that it’s important to talk about it…”
Rousteing has used the power of social media to build his brand persona, garnering over 11 million Instagram followers for Balmain along the way. His newer campaigns have evolved beyond still imagery to include music videos and a five-episode streaming dramatic series.
Working closely with music artists, he created the charitable Balmain Festival, with Beyoncé, Rosalía, Lil Nas X and Jennifer Lopez wearing his clothes on and off the stage. Rousteing also designed costumes for “Renaissance,” a ballet that opened at Opéra de Paris in 2017.
Last summer, the public got to know Rousteing, who is adopted, through “Wonder Boy,” the Netflix documentary revealing details of the designer’s professional and personal life through his search for his origin story.