Olivier’s New Look


In the September 2001 edition of US Elle, Olivier Theyskens said, “There are not a lot of people taking risks. I want to make clothes, not trends.” In the photo that accompanied the article, his hair was really, really short. “I always kind of grow it out, cut it, grow it out, cut it,” he told me during a studio visit on Tuesday. That day, his infamous sheet of jet-black hair fell just below his ears in a sort of Kurt Cobain, surfer style, and after picking my jaw up from off the floor, I told him he was a dead-ringer for a boy I might have had a crush on in my sixth-grade yearbook. That was 1995, so you know the look: Stussy t-shirt, skateboard, center part. And little did the trend-averse designer know that his drastic quick-change is, in fact, the latest in a slew of high-profile chops (Daria Werbowy—who I fully copied—Miley Cyrus, Yasmin LeBon).

He looks like a completely different person, but that’s not the point, he says. Was there some big event in your life—did you break up? Get married? Have an existential crisis? I asked, because isn’t that what precipitates the desire, the need to just cut it all off? “That’s the thing,” he said. “There’s no real reason, but people always want to think there’s something more to it. I’ve been wanting to cut it for years, but it’s never been the right time—when I left Ricci and took a year off, I wanted to cut it, but then people would think, ‘Oh no, did he freak out?!’ [Laughs] And then when I took the job at Theory and moved to New York, people would have associated it with that change. So I just waited.” Now firmly planted in NYC and gearing up for his spring 2013 show next week (“There’s not a lot I can do right now but wait for all the samples to come in”) he and a friend—not a pro, just a pal—got together for an at-home, DIY make-under…which, you know, has a special place in my heart. “Odile [Gilbert] usually cuts it, but she’s very quick, very precise, very graphic lines. And for this, it’s better when it’s kind of wrong, you know?” Oh, do I ever. I’m left with a hugely gratifying Daria-esque style on some days, and a Donald Trump, Flock of Seagulls throwback moment on others. Shorter hair is actually harder. “I know, right? I used to just wake up and go out; now I have to wet my hair, shower, every morning before I leave the house or else it looks weird,” Olivier commiserated.

Weird-looking or not, skater/grunge/teen-angst or whatever association you want to make, Olivier himself doesn’t feel any different. “I mean, it felt strange to wash it at first and not have it there anymore… but other than that, no. I just feel like me.” He’s dressing exactly the same—a rumpled t-shirt of his own design, on most days—but he’ll admit to a shift in people’s reactions towards him. “I think with the long hair, people took me more seriously…it was more of an intense look, I guess. It’s a bit more ‘normal’ now, though I still think not so many guys have hair this length.” I say, give it six months—we’ll see about that.


Olivier Theyskens photographed by Emily Weiss in New York on August 28th, 2012 (1, 2); in September 2001 Elle by Gilles Bensimon, and on ITG on 12.21.11 (3)

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  • http://kitchenafternoon.blogspot.com/ Kitchenafternoon

    huge improvement -still has pretty hoar cut well.
    The word Crew cut comes from UW rowing, where the mean cut their hair 5/8" in the spring. The joke was that way you could who really had a handsome snough face to pull it of.

  • Marciasilverstein

    he looks sooooooo much handsomer

  • Sofía

    huge fan of Olivier...and yes it is such a taboo the 'need to have a real reason' to say, ok let's get this done and then just do it. I'm happy to hear there's someone else who can pull off a new look like they would change from one t-shirt to another.

  • mlle p

    He's a good looking man and can do any of those lengths well. I like all of them! I'm wondering if he ever changes the face fur - beard, no beard, scruff? It seems to be the same in all photos.

  • AsphodelJones

    Oh nooooooo. *sigh* Oh well. He's one of the most beautiful men in the world. It's not as bad as I feared.

  • http://taliapearl.tumblr.com/ FiggyPop

    I'm a lady (hah) and even I want 1995 middle school skater boy hair.

  • Rose

    I think the new haircut is very sexy. Quite an improvement!

  • http://www.twitter.com/blownawaystyle Blown Away

    He can wear any hair style and look great. Loved it long and love it the new length too!

  • Aya

    Wow. He's always been a handsome man but this new look is down right sexy.

  • http://katemossdaily.blogspot.in/ katemossdaily

    Wow, major babe alert! He looks incredible. I really liked his long hair because rarely do you see that look on a man, but everyone needs change and not everything has to be a statement, right? Amazing.


  • http://thinskinlintmint.tumblr.com Claire

    the 90s hair is always so effortlessly cool to me and he looks so beautiful

  • http://theaceofheartsa.blogspot.com/ Alice

    Please tell me that I'm not the only one who thinks Olivier is too too cool!
    After reading this post as well as another one with him (and looking through tons and tons of his designs), I just want to meet him and tell him that he's so cool and unusual and so freaking RAD in all the best ways.

    His new haircut looks good but so did his old one.
    But am I the only one who just wants to run my hingers through his hair?It just looks so glossy and nice and stuff...
    Seriously, I think I'm totally jealous of his hair.
    Hashtag girl problems.
    Hahahaha :)

    I hope all you coolio people have a fantabulous Labor Day weekend!! <3

    The Ace of Hearts

  • http://www.daulbe.com/ Daul Be

    September is time for changes! He looks great with the new hair! :)

  • Skin Care

    You look very stylish dear..:)
    Skin Repair

  • RTG

    He has great hair to begin with and he can have his hair cut by the best so it's really a win win situation.

  • Defygames
  • Guest

    I prefer his hair shorter, much shorter. But I know he doesnt really care what my preference is.
    Chacun a son gout.

  • Sandra Light

    Whoa .. the sheer masculinity of this cut is what jumps out at me. He's never looked better.

  • Kristen dolzynski

    I LOVE IT!!!!!!!! TOTAL JORDAN CATALONO.... And what do you mean yours looks like Daria? Is there a recent update? Please post. LOVE THE DARIA! Your post is written beautifully and with humor...one of the best really. xx

  • yilin

    snape, is that you? *swoons*