A little over a week after celebrating his 10th anniversary at the helm of Balmain, Olivier Rousteing is marking another milestone. On Sunday, the 36-year-old designer revealed that exactly a year prior, the fireplace in his home in Paris “exploded.” He awoke the next morning in the hospital, covered in severe burns. “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,” he captioned a photo of himself in a full upper-body cast on Instagram. “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.”
Rousteing did not disappear from the public eye. He continued to do interviews and photoshoots, all while obscuring the scars from his burns with face masks, turtlenecks, long sleeves, and “even multiple rings on all [his] fingers.” (He wore an especially long-sleeved turtleneck to take his bow at Balmain’s fall 2021 showing in March, five months after sustaining his injuries.) “To be honest I am not really sure why I was so ashamed,” he reflected on Instagram. “Maybe this obsession with perfection that fashion is known for and my own insecurities...”
These days, Rousteing continued, he is “healed, happy, and healthy.” He’s also back to a version of his usual wardrobe, which is to say showing off his chest: The designer took his bow alongside supermodels like Lara Stone and Naomi Campbell at Balmain’s spring 2022 show earlier this month in a deep-V blazer sans shirt.
The collection that preceded Rousteing featured gauzy bandage dresses, and many models matched him with versions of the double rings he continues to wear on each of his fingers. He drew the connection for reviewers while backstage, and now sounds thrilled to do the same with the public. “My last show was about the celebration of healing over pain,” he wrote in a series of posts about his “rebirth.” “I remember when they took out all my bandages it felt [like] FREEDOM.”