BLK DNM leather vest (similar here), Monki dress, Topshop Mighty boots and Vintage Amy Chan Camo bag.
How often do you get to interview a world-renowned designer whose collections are loved by everyone and whose label is a steady contender for most anticipated runway shows purely for the decadence and COOLNESS that it exudes? This was a once in a lifetime opportunity and although I knew I would be nervous as fuck, I just couldn’t pass this up. Balmain is not a label that I look up to in terms of “I am going to buy that next season” (uhhh let’s just say I stick to more humble price tags), but Olivier Rousteing’s take on the whole cool girl vibe and luxurious fabrics and embellishments juxtaposed on tough more commonplace cuts/pieces like motorcycle jackets and ripped denim is definitely an aesthetic I have deep affection for.
I am so lucky that I’ve been able to interview many super duper famous designers/people up to now and when I’m interviewing someone, I try to stay away from the typical “fashion-y”/tell-me-about-your-label kind of questions. I just think they’ve probably answered these same questions a million times and honestly, if I wanted to find out a designers inspiration behind a collection, I’d probably go to style.com to read about it instead.
Read on to see the random fun conversation we got up to during our interview! I wish you all could hear the interview instead, with Olivier flowing his pretty French accent my way and making me all giddy and entranced!
SUPERWOWOMG: So whenever I interview designers, I like to start with non-fashiony questions because Iâ€™m sure you get asked those a lot. So letâ€™s start with what do you like to eat for breakfast?
OR: Honestly it depends on where I am, cause when Iâ€™m in Paris I donâ€™t have breakfast â€“ I donâ€™t have time! I hate losing my time to breakfast. But when I go to hotels and stuff Iâ€™m always eating like eggs and sausages. Today in Hong Kong, I ate cereal with yoghurt and also some nutella with bread. I wanted nutella!
S: Yeah nutella is good! So you didnâ€™t have typical Hong Kong breakfast like congee?
OR: No tomorrow I will try. But last night, what did I eat again? Oh, I had wontons. It was so good. I love the noodles and the chicken â€“ so good! Amazing, love it, so good!
S: Oh my god right? So good. So my next question is, whoâ€™s your favorite artist?
OR: I love Andy Warhol. I love pop. I love when you can mix the art with the most popular feeling and make them understand â€“ I love concepts that are understandable at first sight.
S: Like easy to take in?
OR: Yeah cause I think the concept can be really clever and really intellectual, but what I like about Warhol is itâ€™s for everybody. Itâ€™s like a story that can touch everybody. Andy Warholâ€™s art is timeless, itâ€™s strong, itâ€™s powerful and it touches more than elitist people.
S: Okay so, random, what is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
OR: Ice cream? Ah my god. I love chewing gum ice cream.
S: What, huh?
OR: You know the pink one. [Something fabulous sounding in French] no? You donâ€™t know?
S: No? They have bubblegum ice cream? Woah!
OR: Yeah it tastes like gum, itâ€™s amazing! I love it.
S: Hahaha thatâ€™s so interesting.
OR: Yeah itâ€™s like strawberry and something but it has the taste of like pink bubblegum.
S: Iâ€™ll have to try it someday!
S: So the one question I always ask is, is there anything special or unusual that you collect?
OR: Something I collect? It depends on my age or how I feel. Right now I donâ€™t have something that I collect. I can collect clothes hahaha, I collect shoes and clothes. There are things that I have tons of, like lamps, mirrors or paintings but I wouldnâ€™t call it a collection.
S: Okay thatâ€™s cool. Letâ€™s get to the more fashiony stuff. Who inspires you?
OR: I think what makes me love fashion is designers like Yves Saint Laurent, or Coco Chanel, or Pierre Balmain. Thatâ€™s how I work â€“ I always imagine them and how they create in their past and I think thatâ€™s amazing for me to try and translate. To try and do what they did before.
S: I read somewhere that your collections are very heavily influenced by the cities you visit, so have you seen anything cool in Hong Kong thatâ€™s inspired you?
OR: Itâ€™s just my first day actually, but what I think is amazing about Hong Kong is that itâ€™s super futuristic. Like I was having dinner in a restaurant and I was looking out at all those buildings and itâ€™s just so crazy, it just makes you feel so powerful. But at the same time you feel thereâ€™s something really strong from the past. Thereâ€™s so much heritage and a great culture, so, I love it!
S: I noticed youâ€™re always wearing lots of different bracelets â€“ is there any meaning to any of them?
OR: There is meaning. Actually, this could be my collection! Thereâ€™s meaning because all these colored bracelets are all the access passes to the backstage of Balmain. Itâ€™s all my seasons at Balmain. So I have some from when I was an assistant to until now. So I think those are memories that I want to keep close to me.
S: Thatâ€™s really nice.
OR: Yeah, some bracelets are also from my holidays, some from lovers that I will always keep even if Iâ€™m not with them anymore. They remind me of really important moments of my life. I see you have a lot too!
S: Yeah but I always take mine off, do you?
OR: Never. I always keep mine. I could never get rid of them, honestly.
Special thanks to Alice and Candy from IT Asia Pacific and super huge thanks to SAM from Sam is Home for taking some of the photos. Please take the time to check out her new online store: A Boy Named Sue. Additional SOs (shout outs) to Nanz for helping to write up the interview!
Balmain Paris / Store G210, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui