Balmain’s creative director, Olivier Rousteing, stars in the Netflix documentary “Wonder Boy” which captures his very intimate journey to find his birth parents and discover more information about his roots.
The film follows Rousteing as he prepares for his S/S 2018 collection in Paris, France, Met Gala appearance in New York, USA, and Balmain’s collaboration with the Victoria Secret fashion show in Shanghai, China, all while dealing with unanswered questions about his ethnic origins.
Rousteing, who was born in Bordeaux, France, was adopted by a French couple after his birth mother decided to give him up to the state. Growing up in a white household, Rousteing always wondered where he was truly from, and as he puts it in the film, “My first hope is to see what my parents look like … To understand where I’m from. My origins. Because I grew up without really knowing why my skin is this colour”.
Throughout the film, Rousteing’s deep loneliness is captured and contrasted with imagery of Balmain’s glamorous successes in the fashion world. The almost surreal imagery adds nuance to Rousteing’s life story in a profoundly in-depth manner.
In the most heartbreaking scene of the documentary, Rousteing breaks down in tears as he is informed that his birth mother, an unidentified female from Djibouti of Somali origin, was only 15-years-old when she gave birth to him. His father, a 25-year-old man from Ethiopia remains unidentified too.
Reflecting on the shattering discovery, Rousteing is captured in a vulnerable moment where he processes the information that he received about his birth parents. “One thing touched me today, that felt really… nice. It’s really dumb. She said my mother was very slim … and it’s the first time I’ve ever been told I look like someone”.
Stream “Wonder Boy” on Netflix.