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Balmain director Olivier Rousteing reveals fireplace accident recovery

By Rosalie Wessel

Oct. 11, 2021

People

Image: Balmain

Creative director of the French luxury house Balmain Olivier Rousteing has revealed he suffered severe burns after his fireplace exploded in his home last year.

In an Instagram post titled “A year ago”, the designer spoke of his healing process, and the struggle to hide his injuries from the world.

Above his explanation, Rousteing shared a photo of himself wrapped in bandages and sporting visible burns on the side of his face. “I did everything to hide this story from as many people as possible and trying to keep the secret with my teams and friends for too long,” Rousteing wrote in the caption. “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.”

The Balmain director also admitted that he’d been hiding his injuries during meetings and interviews with clothes and accessories. In the comments below, celebrity friends such as Kim Kardashian West and Cardi B left supportive messages.

Rousteing, who became the director of Balmain at the age of 25, recently celebrated his 10 year anniversary at the luxury brand with a highly commended show. With 6,000 people in attendance, Vogue reports, the glamorous performance also featured a performance from Doja Cat, runway walks from Naomi Campbell and Carla Bruni, and a voiceover by Beyoncé.

Despite his struggles, the designer wrote that he’d been inspired to continue to create during his recovery process, and “worked day and night to forget”. Rousteing’s design was also noticeably inspired by his recovery process, with Vogue reporting that the designer wrote in his show notes, “hospital rooms, bandages and gauze wraps suddenly became a big part of my life.” This inspired a modern take on the classic 2000s bandage dresses, a “minimalist but maximalist” approach, Rousteing said in his show notes.

At the age of 25 in 2011, Rousteing was appointed as the first Black creative director of Balmain. Often facing backlash for his creative decisions, such as introducing a collaboration with H&M, Rousteing’s rise to the top of the fashion industry was rapid and successful. According to Out magazine, the brand saw a 15 to 20 percent increase in revenue between 2012 and 2015.

“Today, I feel so free, so good and so lucky. I’m beginning a new chapter with a smile on my face and a heart full of gratitude,” Rousteing wrote. He also thanked the doctors and nurses who kept his injuries a secret, and helped him during the long process of healing.

“God bless you all and again never never give up! There is always the sun after the storm,” the designer said, ending his post.