Following Christophe Decarnin's departure from Balmain earlier this month amid rumors of mental illness, the label was said to be hiring "someone unknown" to replace him. Now it appears that this someone is Olivier Rousteing, Decarnin's deputy designer at Balmain since 2009. Rousteing is so under the radar that Women's Wear Daily, who reported this story, had to resort to scouring his LinkedIn page to figure out what his deal was.
Prior to joining Balmain, Rousteing worked at Roberto Cavalli in Milan for nearly six years. He was born in France, attended fashion school at ESMOD, and speaks several languages. According to sources, he is "a young and promising creative dynamo."
If rumors that Decarnin's absence began in January are true, then Balmain's most recent collection (which received lukewarm reviews) was overseen by Rousteing (with the help of stylist and consultant Melanie Ward), so he's basically been doing this job for a while already. Ward, who was also a logical candidate for the position, will presumably continue her work for the brand. In other words, Balmain probably won't veer from its bank-breaking formula of beaded dresses, slashed jeans, and tailored jackets. An official announcement confirming Rousteing's appointment is expected within a week.