ELLE Speaks To Olivier Rousteing About His Victoria's Secret x Balmain Collab

The designer reveals all.

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When Victoria's Secret announced a collaboration with Balmain for their upcoming fashion show, our first thought was how has this not happened before? The annual catwalk spectacle, hosted this year in Shangai, will debut the looks specially created by Balmain front man, Olivier Rousteing. Prepare for #VSxBalmain Insta overload.

Whilst designers have previously collaborated with VS, this is the first time consumers will be able to buy the collection straight after the show has aired on 29th November and we predict it will be one hot sell-out.

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Plaid? Check. Spikes? Check. Bad*** Bombshell attitude? Double check. @romeestrijd looking hot in #VSxBALMAIN

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We chatted to the designer about his famous model friends and how to feel your sexiest.

What's first Victoria's Secret memory?

The same as everyone's! Watching incredible woman own the runway in a way that's so unlike the typical fashion show. I have such vivid memories of Giselle and Tyra—with their amazing smiles and incredible bodies—I loved how beautiful and empowered they were, and how they made it so clear that they were having such a great time

Why did you choose to collaborate with the lingerie giant?

Number one: I always love a challenge. I've very much enjoyed getting to know, partnering with and learning from the experts who dominate areas where I haven't really worked before—whether it's beauty, technology or, now, lingerie.

Two: I loved the challenge of bringing Balmain's Parisian couture heritage and vision to a wider, more global world. We've done this in the past, of course, with some other very successful collaborations, and it's exciting to bring a bit of our unique signature to a mainstream audience.

Three: Of course, I love the VS team. I've worked so closely with so many of the Angels and it's fun to work on a new collaboration with them again.

Four: I knew it would be a lot of fun. And I was right!

FROM PINK TO PUNK. #VSxBALMAIN. ‪11.29.17‬ @victoriassecret @olivier_rousteing

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How do you think VS is empowering to women?

The spirit of the show reflects the confident, free and sensual woman who controls her life and is proud of her own beauty. They are sexy—of course—but never diminished. It is always the image of a woman in charge of her own life, true to herself and feeling good about how she looks.

What is your favourite fashion moment, ever?

Shooting my Spring 2016 campaign. When I was a kid, growing up in Bordeaux in the early nineties, Paris and the fashion world seemed a whole lot farther away than just a six-hour car ride. I was a good student, but I would often find myself daydreaming about a future that no-one would have ever believed possible—especially when looking at the amazing images of that era's fashion. I will always remember a backstage shot of Gianni Versace, surrounded by the top models of the day—Cindy, Claudia, Naomi, etc. Photos like that were my first introduction to fashion's amazing inspirational powers. And inspire me they did—which is why I had to smile to myself, remembering, while I watched Steven Klein shoot those same strong, beautiful and inspirational women for my Spring 2016 campaign. Hey, sometimes, dreams do actually come true…

A moment, captured. Angel @stellamaxwell & #VSxBALMAIN are a match made in #VSFashionShow heaven. Shop it 11.29.17.

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What has been your favourite VS musical moment so far?

Without a doubt, Rihanna singing Diamonds in the 2012 show. Typically, she set the standard.

Which VS show has been your favourite?

Last year, when VS showed in Paris, I was lucky enough to be able to be there that amazing night. I loved seeing it live—hearing that great music (seriously impressive: Bruno Mars, The Weeknd and Lady Gaga), seeing all the Angels (so many of them are friends of mine and walk in my shows, too) and the setting was amazing: they held it in the Grand Palais, which at night is such a beautiful place to be.

Balmain SS16 campaign

How did you begin the design process as Balmain doesn't typically do underwear?

It was such a relaxed and easy process! We've had a series of conversations over the past year, first just talking about possibilities, then exchanging ideas—and suddenly, we just decided, let's do this! I started sending my sketches and proposing my vision and then… once we quickly agreed on where we wanted to go, I began dedicating my weekends to this collection. I wanted to keep the work separate from my Balmain collection work and really keep a keen. singular focus on what VS needed. From the beginning. I wanted to make sure to keep true to my goal of bringing a Parisian atelier's savoir faire to the sexy positioning of VS.

How do you define sexy?

It's a state of mind. Sexiness depends more on how you wear something than what you wear.

When do you feel most sexy?

I design my men's collection with myself in mind—and wearing those Balmain jeans, boots, leather jackets—well, I have to admit, it makes me feel great!

Olivier Rousteing at Victoria's Secret Show, Paris

What is your sexiest memory?

Kissing Cara Delevinge at the BFAs.

How do you want people to feel wearing your pieces?

Powerful. Unique. Special. Confident.

What music did you listen to when you were designing this?

Michael and Janet Jackson: Scream.

BALMAIN X VS #fromPinktoPunk @victoriassecret 29.11.2017 #couture

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What is the soundtrack to your life?

Michael Jackson: History.

When you are done designing, what do you watch to relax?

I'm a Parisian! We watch each other —constantly! It's all about sitting in a cafe for hours and just watching the world pass by. And, of course, at home I love to stream old series… lately my guilty pleasure has been old episodes of Gossip Girls.

If you were having a VS dinner party would what you cook?

Burgers and fries! Fearlessness.

What never goes out of fashion?

Fearlessness.

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