On Saturday, 16 September, Olivier Rousteing, the Parisian fashion house’s 12-year creative director, took to Instagram to announce the garment crime. The 37-year-old explained how he’d arrived at the office by nine in the morning, anticipating the arrival of the last few designs for their upcoming show.
However, he received a call from the driver meant to transport the pieces from an airport in Paris to the Balmain headquarters. The individual confessed that his vehicle had been overtaken, resulting in the theft of more than 50 looks.
“Our delivery was hijacked. The camion got stolen. Thank god, the driver is safe,” Rousteing wrote. “So many people worked so hard to make this collection happen. We are redoing everything but this is so so disrespectful.”
“This is so unfair. We will work more, days and nights. Our suppliers will work days and nights as well, but this is so disrespectful,” he continued. “I wanted to share this with you to remind you, don’t take anything for guaranteed and please be safe. This is the world we are living in.”
The details surrounding the incident, such as the airport location and hijacking time, were not released.
Executives flocked to social media, discussing the unheard-of tragedy with their followers. Bernard Garby, luxury client manager at Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, and Esquire, discussed the news on TikTok and described it as “a real fashion drama”.
“What happened is something I’ve never heard ever before,” the fashion expert, known to deliver industry recaps every morning, said.
Bernard carefully described the unfortunate impact this incident leaves on the brand with a collection debut scheduled for 27 September.
“It’s basically a pure robbery,” the famed user proclaimed. “I have never ever heard of anything like that before... They have less than 10 days... How stressful!”
Additionally, Bernard made a point to connect this alleged robbery with that of Kim Kardashian on 3 October 2016, when the reality TV star was tied to her hotel bathtub while five men stole her jewellery from the room.
Speaking to David Letterman in 2020, Kardashian recounted the traumatising experience. “He grabbed me and I was wearing a robe and I wasn’t wearing anything under it,” she recalled. “He grabbed me and pulled me towards him but I wasn’t wearing anything underneath. So I was like, ‘OKay, this is the time I’m going to get raped. Just deal, it’s gonna happen.’”
“Just prepare yourself.’ So I did... But then he tied me up with handcuffs and zip ties and duct tape,” she noted.
Bernard ridiculed Paris in his video, telling the city to “fix your situation down there”.
He added: “It’s just not a good image. I am meant to be going to Paris for the Paris Fashion Week as well and I can tell you because of this news around Paris, Paris is really ruining its reputation. And it’s not looking good. I don’t feel safe going to Paris anymore. So you need to fix it.”
In conversation with The Independent, Bernard urged spectators to review Balmain’s new collection with less judgement.
“Olivier has less than 10 days to recreate the collection that got stolen. Bear in mind, it’s Fashion Week season - where everyone in the industry is over-stretched and over-booked. If this happened in summer, maybe it would not be such a big deal,” he said. “However, since it happened during the Fashion Month and right before the collection - I think people should be compassionate if the collection doesn’t deliver people’s expectations.”
He continued: “Also, a standing ovation for Olivier still continuing the collection and proving that he’s a go-getter and someone who doesn’t take no as an answer. It proves he’s a risk-taker and resilient - two qualities a designer needs if you want to survive in a competitive world of fashion.”
The Independent has contacted Balmain for a comment.