Beyoncé made a rare appearance at Paris Fashion Week on Wednesday. But it was just her voice that the crowd of hundreds heard. The superstar singer opened Balmain’s runway show via voice over in celebration of creative director Olivier Rousteing’s 10-year anniversary with the Parisian fashion house.
Beyoncé, who has worn Balmain looks during countless occasions, such as her memorable Coachella music festival performance in 2018, honored Rousteing with a heartwarming speech.
“[You] brought a new mindset to help persuade fashion to finally begin to reflect the real true beauty of today’s streets, the beauty that you and your team see a daily on the diverse impressive boulevards and avenues of your beloved Paris,” she said. “And from day one, you did the right thing. You knew from the start that actions speak so much louder than words. So you’ve taken a stand, made the commitments and followed through at every step of the way.”
A decade ago, Rousteing took the helm of Balmain at the ripe age of 25. To some, it was a bold move to give a young designer such an opportunity. But it wasn’t just youth that was surprising, as Beyoncé could be heard during the show… “before then, before you, it seems that the powers that be had a hard time imagining someone who looked like you could head up all the collections at a historical, couture Parisian house. So yes, it was a moment.”
Rousteing is one of three Black men to head a French fashion house. He has used his platform to bolster diversity and inclusivity in fashion since his tenure began — most recently in 2020, when he supported the Black Lives Matter movement during Balmain’s couture show last July. He said at the time that his optimism for future change and progress is “a reflection of my own personal history — after all, it was not too long ago that someone like me was never meant to end up in the position that I occupy today.”
Today, as models including Naomi Campbell, Carla Bruni and Milla Jovovich strutted down the catwalk in Balmain’s spring ’22 line, Beyoncé fawned over Balmain’s collections under Rousteing these past 10 years.
“Does anyone have any idea how many times I’ve worn a special Olivier x Balmain creation? There have been so many events and so many beautiful moments,” she reminisced, even shouting out the moment when she cast her Texas ballot for “change” during the 2020 presidential election.
“You helped me make my musical statement. You helped me amplify my message, your designs have made me feel powerful. Thank you,” she added. “Balmain is your amazing tool for both beauty and change. Your outlook, your convictions and your talent have affected and moved all of us. I’m so proud to call you friend. Happy anniversary. We’re all looking forward to the next ten years.”