Though he’s normally seen taking a triumphant stroll down the Fashion Week runways or caught in paparazzi snaps alongside his long list of celebrity friends, Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing has been out of the spotlight for the better part of the last year. On Sunday, the designer revealed the very private and painful battle he’s been fighting for his own health that has kept him out of the public eye.
“I finally feel ready to share this. I’ve been hiding this for too long and it’s time for you to know,” he wrote in an Instagram post. “Exactly a year ago, the fireplace inside my house exploded.”
The fashion director didn’t get into specifics on the circumstances of the accident, but he applauded and thanked the medical staff at the Paris hospital at which he recovered for giving him such good care during the height of COVID.
As for why he hid this incident and his injuries from the public, Rousteing says he isn’t sure why he was ashamed of something so out of his own control.
“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 shared. “ 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.”
Rousteing, the first Black creative director at Balmain (and the youngest, beginning in the role at age 24), says that his desire to hide showed him the amount of control that social media allows the user to have over their narrative and what they want to show. Though the designer wasn’t out much, when he was no one was any the wiser about his condition due to some strategic style choices on his part. He notoriously remained covered up in heavy, dark loungewear throughout the summer months.
“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 and at the same time hiding the scars with face masks, turtlenecks, long sleeves, and even multiple rings on all my fingers through many interviews or photoshoots,” he shared.
“And I truly realized that the power of social media is to reveal only what you want to show! Kind of allowing us to create our own special narrative that avoids what we do not wish to see or show: this is our new world.”
Thankfully, Rousteing has made a full recovery and feels thankful for making it through his harrowing experience.
“Now, a year later—healed, happy and healthy. I realize how truly blessed I am and I thank GOD every day of my life.”