Olivier Rousteing knows how to make a statement. Though he was only 25 when he first took charge at the storied house of Balmain, he’s never lacked for confidence. From his first collection, he’s created clothes that dare their wearer to seek the spotlight, and that demand a strong woman to carry off their bold embellishments and body-baring silhouettes. It’s no wonder he often refers to his favorite muses and models as the Balmain Army.
In the S/S 2015 of Document Journal, though, photographer Christian MacDonald treats readers to a peek at the women behind the warriors. Models Riley Montana,Jessica Stam, Annely Bouma, Malaika Firth, Issa Lish, Catherine McNeil, and Amanda Wellsh are captured alongside Olivier himself in a series of intimate studio portraits. They reveal that the diverse, vibrant group of women in the Balmain Army look just as beautiful letting their guard down as they do strutting down the runway. It turns out the Balmain look is just as much about the attitude as the clothes.
In the accompanying interview by documentary filmmaker Loïc Prigent, Olivier bares as much in his words as his models do in their photographs. In the candid Q&A, he opens up about posing nude, his first job, and some of his most memorable extravagances. It’s clear that Olivier’s living a life that’s as rich and colorful as his designs.