Olivier Rousteing Shares the Moving Story of His Burns Recovery for the First Time

The Balmain designer revealed on Instagram that a fireplace explosion saw him hospitalized last year, before paying tribute to the medical staff who helped him to recovery.

To celebrate his 10th anniversary as creative director of the house of Balmain last month, Olivier Rousteing staged the kind of spectacle only a designer with his audacious vision could pull off. Featuring 6,000 attendees, a performance from Doja Cat, runway walks from the likes of Naomi Campbell and Carla Bruni, and a voiceover celebrating his work courtesy of Beyoncé, it capped Rousteing’s decade at the house with all the brilliant bombast that has become his unmistakable signature.

But there was another reason for this celebratory spirit, too, as he revealed to reporters following the show. In October of last year, Rousteing suffered severe burns after a fireplace at his home exploded, which he explained came to inform the collection with its notable sense of ease and comfort. And today, Rousteing opened up about his ordeal publicly for the first time, posting an image of himself to Instagram that was taken soon after leaving hospital, with his upper body almost entirely bandaged to aid his recovery.

“I finally feel ready to share this,” wrote Rousteing. “I’ve been hiding this for too long and it’s time for you to know.” As well as sharing details of the experience itself, he paid a heartfelt tribute to the medical staff who helped him on his journey back to recovery. “I woke up the next morning in Paris’s Hôpital Saint-Louis,” he continued. “The talented staff at that famous hospital, which was dealing with an incredible number of Covid cases at that same time, took amazing care of me. I cannot thank them enough.”

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Just as impressive as Rousteing’s rapid recovery is the fact he continued to produce collections all throughout the past year, with many of his shows being celebrated for their innovative approach to reworking the runway format while dealing with the restrictions imposed by Covid-19. One such example was his spring 2021 show, where the usual front-row crowd was present on digital screens, in an ingenious melding of the conventional fashion show with the key role technology played in keeping that sense of community alive throughout the pandemic.

At his most recent show, he noted that throughout his recovery he had used turtlenecks, face masks, long sleeves, and jewelry to conceal the effects of the fire. But in his Instagram post today, Rousteing remarked that he felt ready to turn over a new leaf and opened up about his efforts to recast this devastating event as something positive—in no small part through the beauty of the clothes he’s created over the past year while recovering.

“My last show was about the celebration of healing over pain and I thank all the models, the productions, my team, the models, my Balmain family, [and] my friends that came and supported not only my 10 years of Balmain, but my rebirth,” he wrote. Ultimately, the message Rousteing hoped to share was an inspiring one: of self-love, gratitude, and the healing power of creativity. “Today, I feel so free, so good and so lucky,” wrote Rousteing. “I’m beginning a new chapter with a smile on my face and a heart full of gratitude.”

This story originally appeared on: Vogue - Author:Liam Hess