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Is Avengers 4’s First Trailer Coming This Month?

Last year, Marvel fans were going crazy in the wait for the Avengers: Infinity War trailer. Now destiny has repeated itself with the trailer for Avengers 4. Fans are clamoring to find out the date the trailer will release, and there are no shortage of rumors regarding when that will be. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has said that it will release this year, but now one Marvel fan site claims to have narrowed down the release window to later this month.

According to MCU Cosmic, the trailer for Avengers 4 (which may be called Avengers: Annihilation) will release before the end of November. The site doesn’t claim to know an exact date to expect the trailer, but it does lay down some ideas. The Infinity War trailer released on November 29, 2017, so a similar target area could be in store for Avengers 4, should Disney stick to a similar release schedule. The trailer will likely debut online first (which is often the case these days), or it will premiere on TV during Good Morning America or a football game.

For those who may not know, Disney owns ABC, the channel that airs Good Morning America, and the studio has used the morning news show to debut footage or new details for its movies. For example, the Captain Marvel trailer premiered on Good Morning America, so it’s not farfetched to say the same could happen with Avengers 4.

MCU Cosmic goes on to say that it has heard from “reliable sources” there’s a high likelihood that the trailer will debut during a football game between November 26 and December 2. Previously, Star Wars trailers have debuted during football games — giving huge ratings boosts to the games. There are no more Star Wars movies until next year, so there’s reason to believe that the NFL would want that Avengers 4 trailer.

My advice would be to take any rumor about Avengers 4 with a healthy dosage of salt. A lot of people on the internet are claiming to have the inside scoop, and while this site has logical reasoning behind its claims, none of it is confirmed. So, we’ll have to keep waiting until Marvel or the Russo Brothers finally take pity on us poor souls and drop that freakin’ trailer already.

There’s no release date for a trailer, but I can tell you when Avengers 4 will come out! The highly anticipated blockbuster will premiere on May 3, 2019 (though, there are rumors that’s not even the release date anymore). To learn everything you can until then, here’s what you need to know about Avengers 4. For everything else coming down the Marvel pipeline, here’s our Marvel movie release guide.

9 TV Shows and Movies to Watch the Week of November 4, 2018

November is officially here, so get ready for a slew of holiday-themed TV shows and movies to hit your queues, theaters, and basic cable. This week is light on Christmas-centric content, but there are still a few things premiering to get you into the holiday spirit. Oh, and Outlander season four is here!

Below, nine things to earmark for this week:

Outlander: Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) have made it to the American colonies, but they’re not out of the woods yet. Tune in to see what happens during the season four opener of this hit Starz show. 8 P.M. ET on Starz

2018 MTV Europe Music Awards: Hailee Steinfeld is hosting this year’s awards, which features performances from Nicki Minaj, Janet Jackson, and Halsey, among others. 7 P.M. ET on MTV

The Reckoning: Hollywood’s Worst Kept Secret: From director Barry Avrich comes this gripping documentary about the sexual assault reckoning currently happening in Hollywood. Available on demand

Christmas Cookie Challenge: Because what better way to kick off the holiday season than with some baking inspiration? 10 P.M. ET on Food

The Real Housewives of New Jersey: The ninth season of RHONJ will certainly be dramatic; we’re already shaking at the tension between Teresa Giudice and Jackie Goldschneider. 9 P.M. ET on Bravo

It’s Britney, Bitch!: From pop experts Bradley Stern and T. Kyle MacMahon comes this new Britney Spears-centric podcast, each episode celebrating a year in the pop star’s illustrious career. The first nine installments are available now. New episodes are available every Wednesday. Podcast available on Spotify and iTunes

The Cry: A four-part British psychological thriller about a child abduction and its repercussions, based on the bestselling novel by Helen FitzGerald. Streaming on Sundance Now

Westside: The Hills meets A Star Is Born in new Netflix reality series about nine aspiring singers chasing their aspirations of stardom. Streaming on Netflix

It’s Christmas, Eve: Read the full official synopsis, below. 8 P.M. ET on Hallmark

“As interim school superintendent, Eve (LeAnn Rimes) trims budgets,and now she’s in her hometown where it’s personal. Her handsomeneighbor Liam (Tyler Hines) is a music teacher, and Eve feels hisprogram must be cut. But luckily her friend is married to an IT guy,who’s created a website for donations directly to save the artsprogram. Launched during the tree-lighting ceremony where Liam’sstudents will perform, the website could provide the Christmas miraclethe town needs. Already the universe is cooperating. Eve is back homeand she, Liam, and his daughter look like they might be celebratingmany a future Christmas.”

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Ariana Grande Dropped Post-Breakup Song ‘Thank U, Next’ About Pete Davidson and Her Exes

Ariana Grande has been dangling a new album in front of us since Thursday—including the name of it (thank u, next), what appeared to be some lyrics, and a clue that it was definitely going to address her breakup with Pete Davidson.

Of course, breakups make for some of songwriters’ best material, so it wasn’t entirely surprising she’d get to work on some powerful, relevant material. But what is a shock is just how quickly she’s managed to turn the songs around: She dropped a single from it on Saturday night—right as SNL, featuring Davidson as cast member, went on air. The devil works fast, but Grande works faster, it seems.

She teased the song shortly before tweeting it:

Finally, the drop came in the form of a tweet with a link to the song. You can listen to it on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, YouTube, and pretty much everywhere else; she was very thorough.

Listen to it below:

In the song, she namechecks each of her exes—including Davidson—but nothing about it scathing. Rather than dragging them (something she said she wouldn’t do), she calls them out by naming what she’s thankful about from each of their relationships and how it helped her grow as a person.

Thought I’d end up with Sean
But he wasn’t a match
Wrote some songs about Ricky
Now I listen and laugh
Even almost got married
And for Pete, I’m so thankful
Wish I could say, “Thank you” to Malcolm
‘Cause he was an angel

One taught me love
One taught me patience
And one taught me pain
Now, I’m so amazing
I’ve loved and I’ve lost
But that’s not what I see
So, look what I got
Look what you taught me
And for that, I say

Thank you, next (Next)
Thank you, next (Next)
Thank you, next
I’m so fuckin’ grateful for my ex
Thank you, next (Next)
Thank you, next (Next)
Thank you, next (Next)
I’m so fuckin’—

Grande’s also been coping with the unexpected death of her ex Mac Miller, which happened a few weeks before she and Davidson broke up. This song sounds like a healthy way to be working through all of that. Plus, there’s quite a bit of empowering self-love tucked into the words:

Spend more time with my friends
I ain’t worried ’bout nothin’
Plus, I met someone else
We havin’ better discussions
I know they say I move on too fast
But this one gon’ last
‘Cause her name is Ari
And I’m so good with that (So good with that)

She taught me love (Love)
She taught me patience (Patience)
And she handles pain (Pain)
That shit’s amazing (Yeah, she’s amazing)
I’ve loved and I’ve lost (Yeah, yeah)
But that’s not what I see (Yeah, yeah)
Just look what I’ve found (Yeah, yeah)
Ain’t no need for searching, and for that, I say


She ends the song by looking at her parents’ own relationship—and saying that if she gets married, she’s only going to do it once.

One day I’ll walk down the aisle
Holding hands with my mama
I’ll be thanking my dad
‘Cause she grew from the drama
Only wanna do it once, real bad
Gon’ make that shit last
God forbid something happens
Least this song is a smash (Song is a smash)

I’ve got so much love (Love)
Got so much patience (Patience)
I’ve learned from the pain (Pain)
I turned out amazing (Turned out amazing)
I’ve loved and I’ve lost (Yeah, yeah)
But that’s not what I see (Yeah, yeah)
Just look what I’ve found (Yeah, yeah)
Ain’t no need for searching
And for that, I’ll say

Fans, naturally were all about it:

Safe to say, we’re all waiting for when the rest of the album drops—but, Ari, try to get some sleep too, please.

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Therapy for Pregnant Women With Anxiety Offers Alternative to Medication

Katelyn Hodgson cradles her daughter, Frances, during a recent meeting of a group treatment program for perinatal anxiety at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton in Hamilton, Ontario.
Katelyn Hodgson cradles her daughter, Frances, during a recent meeting of a group treatment program for perinatal anxiety at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton in Hamilton, Ontario. Photo: Libby March for The Wall Street Journal

HAMILTON, Ontario—At a local hospital on a recent Monday, four women, all pregnant or new mothers, were learning how to cope better with their anxiety and depression—medication not required.

Psychologist Sheryl Green asked participants in her treatment program to share the results of their “behavioral activation” homework, a strategy of regularly scheduling pleasurable activities and making yourself do them even if you don’t feel up to them. The technique can improve mood.

Mercedes Elmore, 27 and pregnant at the time with a girl, told the group she took time to text with a friend while her husband and 8-year-old son played videogames. Jennifer, mother of four-month-old Sienna, dashed out for a solo trip to the mall to buy a new outfit for her 30th-birthday dinner. (Jennifer said she was uncomfortable with using her last name in this article.) Rachel Bakker, a 31-year-old mother of three, had a friend come over to watch television.

Mercedes Elmore shared with the group the results of her “behavioral activation” homework, scheduling activities that bring pleasure. She gave birth to a baby girl on Nov. 1.
Mercedes Elmore shared with the group the results of her “behavioral activation” homework, scheduling activities that bring pleasure. She gave birth to a baby girl on Nov. 1. Photo: Libby March for The Wall Street Journal

“It was something to look forward to,” Ms. Bakker said, while her youngest child, five-month-old Winston, sat on her lap and clutched a fuzzy toy chick.

The group is part of Dr. Green and her colleagues’ treatment program for perinatal anxiety at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. It is one of a small but growing number of psychological therapy programs that are specifically designed for pregnant and postpartum women who struggle with anxiety and depression. They address a critical need. While scientific studies have generally found that antidepressant medications are safe to use during pregnancy and breast-feeding, there are still some concerns about their impact on babies.

Some doctors encourage women to avoid the drugs during the perinatal period, especially those patients with mild illness. And many women, even some with severe depression and anxiety disorders, simply refuse to take them while pregnant or breast-feeding.

Ms. Hodgson has struggled with depression and anxiety for several years. Her symptoms surged during her third trimester. ‘I was feeling unmotivated, unhappy and worthless,’ she said.
Ms. Hodgson has struggled with depression and anxiety for several years. Her symptoms surged during her third trimester. ‘I was feeling unmotivated, unhappy and worthless,’ she said. Photo: Libby March for The Wall Street Journal

For “women who cannot or choose not to take medication, you need an alternative,” says Dr. Green, an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at McMaster University.

Also, some women who stay on medication continue to have symptoms: Adding psychotherapy to antidepressants could help keep them well.

Anxiety disorders and depression are common during pregnancy and the postpartum period. About 13% of women experience depression during pregnancy. And studies estimate that anywhere from 12% to 39% will have an anxiety disorder. Many women experience both. “Hormones may contribute to worsening of mood or anxiety in some women,” says Marlene P. Freeman, associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “Pregnancy and postpartum is a major life transition. There are sleep changes, stress and worry about having a baby.”

About 10% of pregnant women in the U.S. receive prescriptions for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, the family of antidepressant medications that include Prozac and Zoloft. Studies have found that about two-third of women with a history of depression who stop their medications while pregnant will relapse.

Rachel Bakker holds her son, Winston. During the session, the women in the treatment program practiced a deep breathing exercise.
Rachel Bakker holds her son, Winston. During the session, the women in the treatment program practiced a deep breathing exercise. Photo: Libby March for The Wall Street Journal

“If you have untreated depression and anxiety disorders during pregnancy, you’re bound to have a higher exposure to things that are not good for the baby such as alcohol or smoking or drugs,” says Maureen Sayres Van Niel, a reproductive psychiatrist in Cambridge, Mass. and president of the American Psychiatric Association’s Women’s Caucus. “And it’s going to have an effect on the amount you can attach with your baby.”

Depression during pregnancy is linked to an increased risk of preterm birth and lower birth weight in babies. High anxiety during pregnancy has been linked to ADHD symptoms in children.

The new perinatal programs adapt longstanding, effective psychological treatments for anxiety and depression. St. Joseph’s uses cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a treatment where patients are taught to identify unhelpful thoughts, challenge them and replace them with more realistic ones. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are using interpersonal psychotherapy, which focuses on improving relationships as a way to relieve depression symptoms, with pregnant patients. Massachusetts General Hospital and the MGH Institute of Health Professions are studying the use of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, which involves yoga and meditation practice, to treat pregnant women with anxiety disorders.

The new programs modify treatments to be more accessible and relevant to pregnant women and new mothers. They often consist of fewer sessions: St. Joseph’s program, for example, meets only six times, whereas a typical course of CBT would include 12 to 18 sessions. Babies are welcome.

The program at St. Joseph’s is covered by Canada’s universal health insurance system and is free for participants.

Katelyn Hodgson, one of the program’s participants, has struggled with depression and anxiety for several years. Antidepressants helped alleviate her symptoms but she stopped taking the medication as soon as she found out she was pregnant with her daughter Frances, who goes by Frankie, now four months old. “I was just worried [the medication] was going to go to her and I didn’t know what it would do,” said the 27-year-old social-media and public-relations manager.

But her symptoms surged during her third trimester, and Ms. Hodgson went back on medication. “I was feeling unmotivated, unhappy and worthless. I didn’t understand how I could feel so bad when something so great was happening,” she said. Ms. Hodgson stopped taking the medication again, worried that Frankie would be exposed to it through her breast milk. She began St. Joseph’s perinatal program when Frankie was two months old. Her anxiety “is less intrusive now,” she says.

During St. Joseph’s program, women learn to identify and change their “thinking errors,” those catastrophic thoughts that can fuel depression and anxiety (If someone else holds my baby, she will get sick, for example). They learn to put them on trial, writing down tangible evidence for and against the thoughts. They are also taught to change behaviors that can fuel anxiety, such as spending hours online researching labor and delivery complications. Every week, the women get homework assignments to practice the new skills.

On that recent Monday, Dr. Green’s colleague, psychologist Eleanor Donegan, led the women in a deep breathing exercise. “It is just a message to your brain to slow down and relax a bit,” Dr. Donegan said. The women closed their eyes and the room went silent except for the occasional coos and gurgles from Frankie and Winston.

In a small pilot study of the program published in 2015 in the Archives of Women’s Mental Health involving 10 women with no control group, the treatment led to a statistically significant reduction in anxiety and depression symptoms. Dr. Green and her colleagues are finishing up a larger randomized controlled trial.

Ms. Elmore has found the strategies to change thinking errors particularly helpful. She has seen a psychiatrist for several years for generalized anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, but has always resisted medication. With this pregnancy, her anxiety surged.

“At first, I worried about miscarriage. As time went on and I hit 20 weeks, I worry about her being stillborn,” said Ms. Elmore, an early childhood educator. Now when she gets anxious, she “looks at the evidence for that anxious thought and the evidence against it,” she said. “I find myself thinking more balanced thoughts.” Ms. Elmore gave birth Thursday to a baby girl.

Ms. Hodgson said perhaps the biggest benefit from St. Joseph’s program was the validation and support she received from the other women. “It makes you feel like there are other people that struggle just as much and that is OK,” she said. “We can find a way to get through it.”

How safe are antidepressants during pregnancy?

There is a robust body of research trying to answer this question, but study results conflict. And some of the risks attributed to the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRI, are similar to those found in children exposed to their mother’s psychiatric illness. So it can be difficult to distinguish between the effects of the medication and the impact of the disease.

Some studies found that babies whose mothers took antidepressants during pregnancy were more likely to be born prematurely and at lower birth weights. But babies exposed to their mother’s depression in utero face these same risks. Some studies found a higher risk of heart defects and neural tube defects among babies whose mothers took SSRIs. But others, particularly more recent research, found babies exposed to SSRIs are no more likely to have heart defects than the children of women who didn’t take medication.

The longer-term impact of antidepressant exposure is also not clear. Some studies reported an increased risk of autism and ADHD in children exposed to medication, while others found no link. Some research found an association between a mother’s use of SSRIs during pregnancy and language and behavioral problems in her children. Other studies found no such association.

There is some concern that children exposed to antidepressants in utero could be at higher risk for depression later on. A large study of nearly 65,000 women published in 2016 in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry found that adolescents whose mothers took certain antidepressants while pregnant with them were more than four times as likely to become depressed by age 15, compared with children whose mothers had psychiatric disorders but didn’t take the drugs during pregnancy.

“We never want women to take any medication they don’t need in pregnancy and breast-feeding,” said Marlene P. Freeman, associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “The SSRI antidepressants are among the best studied medicines in pregnancy and breast-feeding. Medication for many women is really required in terms of staying well.”

Write to Andrea Petersen at

Ariana Grande’s Surprise “Thank U, Next” Release Has Fans Asking “Who’s Aubrey?”

After teasing the phrase “thank u, next” for days, Ariana Grande completed her trick. The reigning pop queen released a single of the same name shortly before 11:00pm on the East Coast, just over a half hour before the start of the totally unrelated Saturday Night Live.

Aside from general panic over the song and its lyrical content about each of Ari’s exes — though it’s certainly not a diss track, to be clear — the immediate reaction from fans zeroed in on one question: who’s the Aubrey that Ariana’s singing about?

As the track hit Apple Music, the service provided lyrics for the song that included the line, “But this one gon’ last / ‘Cause her name is Aubrey.” Seeming to suggest that her current significant other was named Aubrey, some began to wonder if Ariana was dating a woman.

But a quick look at Ariana’s Twitter from earlier in the day revealed the line really says “Ari,” not “Aubrey.”

Before they even knew it, the Aubrey gossip was over for Ariana’s fans — or at least for those who chose to believe the truth.

Whether you choose to believe that Ariana is dating herself or Aubrey, enjoy the iconic pop culture moment that is “thank u, next” below.

A Breakdancing Underdog at 60

Ben Hart, 60, participates regularly in breakdancing competitions.
Ben Hart, 60, participates regularly in breakdancing competitions. Photo: Ryan Collerd for The Wall Street Journal

His four children think he’s embarrassing. His wife worries he’ll get hurt. But 60-year-old Ben Hart is addicted to breakdancing.

Mr. Hart may not win any competitions, but he’s a fan favorite, garnering 27,000-plus Instagram views in hours.

“The first time I watched a competition I was in awe of the athleticism,” he says of breaking, which he first saw up close in 2011. “I was intimidated to try it.” Although he could barely do a basic move—one veteran told him he looked like he was in the Ice Capades—he says breaking was more fun than the treadmill.

Mr. Hart, an advertising copywriter who works from his homes in Chicago and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., used to run and lift weights. He wasn’t seeing results. So he hired well-known Chicago breakdancer Shorty Brick to give him lessons. After one year of breaking he lost 30 pounds. “It’s like nonstop sprinting,” he says. “It’s more dance than sport, but with an athletic component that is very dynamic and explosive.”

B-boying or b-girling, as breaking is also known, consists of three main elements. Top rock moves are performed standing up. Down rock moves like drops and spins take place on the floor. And a freeze is a pose where the dancer stops moving mid-set, often while balancing.

“Top rock is just dancing on your feet, but there are certain moves basic to b-boying that give it a certain look,” Mr. Hart says.

Mr. Hart competes under the b-boy name Benihana, a riff on his name that a friend came up with. Competitions are known as battles and dancers don’t get to choose their music. The beats constantly change throughout the performance. “Musicality is the hardest part for me,” he says. “I didn’t grow up with this music culture, and trying to flow on-beat is a struggle.”

He says breaking has also allowed him the opportunity to interact with communities he probably would not have found otherwise. “I’ve met so many creative people,” he says. Most are decades younger.

He recently competed in the 2018 Silverback Open Championships in Philadelphia, which included some of the world’s top breakers. Mr. Hart didn’t advance beyond the preliminaries. “At my age, I may not break well, but it’s amazing I break at all,” he says.

Mr. Hart prepares for competition. He says his best power moves are windmills, head spins, handstands and freezes, where he supports himself on his hand and elbow with his feet in the air.
Mr. Hart prepares for competition. He says his best power moves are windmills, head spins, handstands and freezes, where he supports himself on his hand and elbow with his feet in the air. Photo: Ryan Collerd for The Wall Street Journal
The Workout

Mr. Hart calls himself fanatical about practicing 90 minutes to two hours a day in his basement. He runs through foundational footwork sequences. He warms up with moves like the six-step, where he uses his hands to support his upper body as he takes six steps to move his legs in a circle. “It’s like trying to do the gymnastics pommel horse but on the floor,” he says.

He can now do 100 push-ups while holding various breaking poses. He throws push-ups between his six-step moves in workouts and can push up into a handstand. He practices windmills, a move where he rolls across his upper chest, shoulders and back while twirling his legs in a V-shape in the air, and spins on his head. He stretches throughout the day.

On Wednesday nights he practices for up to three hours at a community outreach space in a Chicago suburb. “I lose about 4 pounds of water weight from breaking so hard,” he says. He competes locally almost every weekend.

The Diet

“I don’t pay that much attention to my diet,” Mr. Hart confesses. “Frankly, I like McDonald’s and pizza.” He has been trying to eat a more balanced diet, adding vegetables, fish and lean protein to his meals. Breakfast is fruit and eggs. A McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese is still often lunch. His wife prepares healthy dinners of chicken and salad. His splurge is a steak from Morton’s the Steakhouse. Trail mix, bananas and water fuel him through breakdancing competitions.

The Gear & Cost

“One of the appeals is that there is basically no cost,” he says. “You just need to find some floor space.” He put a 12-foot-by-12-foot sheet of vinyl on top of carpet padding on his basement floor.

His Wednesday night sessions are free to the public. Most breakers wear track suits. “Polyester or acrylic fabrics are slippery and make it easier to spin on the floor,” he says.

Mr. Hart goes for a “man off the street” look. He often wears a Hawaiian shirt. He says you want shoes that shuffle but don’t slide, and you want to avoid a big heel. Converse and Puma work well, he says. He says it isn’t cool to wear a cap, but he wears a padded headspin beanie ($27). “I’m bald and the floor hurts,” he explains. He also wears wrist guards.

The Playlist

He likes listening to “Now We Are Free,” the instrumental theme song from “Gladiator,” while working out at home. “Personally, I don’t like breaking music,” he says. “I prefer club music. It’s easier for me to follow.”

The Evolution of Breaking

Breakdancing is an urban dance style that originated in the mid-1970s on the streets and clubs of New York City. The earliest innovators were young African-American and Puerto Rican dancers. By the mid-1980s, breaking had become a global phenomenon.

The first large-scale, formally judged breakdancing competition, now known as the Battle of the Year, took place in 1990. It attracted breaking crews, or teams, from around the world.

Today, there is an active competitive scene with professional tours. Events in competitions consist of battles between two breakers or two teams. Dancers are judged on technique and variety, musicality and performance, and creativity and personality. The International Olympic Committee added breaking to the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, which took place in Buenos Aires in October.

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Fashion’s Disrupter, Olivier Rousteing of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing, center, greeted the crowd at a Balmain fashion show in Paris in September.
Olivier Rousteing, center, greeted the crowd at a Balmain fashion show in Paris in September. Photo: Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

When Olivier Rousteing received a fashion-industry award in New York last month, the designer didn’t accept the award alone. Instead, he took the stage surrounded by models and other members of his “Balmain Army.”

Such unorthodox gestures are typical of the 33-year-old Mr. Rousteing, a playful disrupter of luxury fashion’s tradition and snobbery. Since becoming creative director of French house Balmain in 2011, he has favored a populist ethos rather than the elitist one that is in the DNA of many high-end labels.

Mr. Rousteing, (pronounced roo-STAHH), championed hip-hop music and performers like Rihanna and reality-TV fixture Kim Kardashian before other designers did. He also embraced racial diversity at a time when many luxury brands were ignoring the issue.

Mr. Rousteing, the first black creative director of a big luxury label in many years, says black designers at last are getting the recognition they merit.
Mr. Rousteing, the first black creative director of a big luxury label in many years, says black designers at last are getting the recognition they merit. Photo: Laura Stevens for The Wall Street Journal

Adopted from an orphanage by a white couple in Bordeaux when he was five months, Mr. Rousteing believes he is of mixed race and considers himself black. “All my life people might just say you’re not black and you’re not white, but I was black enough to be called a black designer because of the lack of diversity in fashion,” said Mr. Rousteing, who is shooting a documentary about his life in which he tries to trace his origins. His Balmain appointment made him the first black creative director of a big luxury label in many years and the youngest creative director of a major fashion house since Yves Saint Laurent.

When he started Instagramming in 2012, most luxury brands and designers were still controlling their images tightly to preserve a certain mystique. “I remember people were like, ‘You cannot show so much about yourself,’ ” he said. “They were asking me to be a bit snobbish and I was like, ‘This is not right. This is now, what is happening today.’ ” Mr. Rousteing’s 5 million followers gobble up a stream of selfies and other glimpses of his life, such as outfitting Beyoncé for Coachella or attending the Met Gala. “I think this was my own way to say I’m not snobbish,” he said.

His flashy, unapologetically sexy designs feature “a lot of bling and a lot of shine,” he said, their crisp tailoring conveying confident authority. “Balmainiacs” range from 23-year-old model Kendall Jenner to her mother Kris and France’s first lady Brigitte Macron. Mr. Rousteing spoke to the Journal recently while in New York. Edited excerpts:

Can luxury designer brands no longer afford to be snobbish or aloof?

I think they are scared to not be cool…I think the “trend” today is trying to not be snobbish. It’s funny to see that because the world of fashion will change and the people that will actually have successes are the people who are sticking to who they are. This is because right now you can recognize a brand that is trying to copy another and you can recognize a brand that actually sticks to who it is and really what it believes in.

You set out to make fashion less snobbish and exclusive. But doesn’t it need to be exclusive?

I think fashion needs to be exclusive, but exclusive doesn’t mean not being inclusive. Fashion still needs to be a dream world, something that you kind of look up to…But it has to be more inclusive, because the new generation…needs to identify themselves. My work and my vision are about saying to the next generation: “I will make sure that you can identify yourself into your dreams.”

Who Is He?

  • Name: Olivier Rousteing
  • What He Does: Fashion designer, creative director of Balmain
  • How He Got There: Dropped out of fashion school in Paris, moved to Italy and at the age of 19, landed a job at Roberto Cavalli. He became a designer for the label’s men’s and women’s ready-to-wear collections, helping put him on fashion’s radar.
  • His Big Break: In 2011, after a year and a half designing at Balmain in Paris under creative director Christophe Decarnin, the 25-year-old Mr. Rousteing was promoted to creative director after Mr. Decarnin’s abrupt departure. He became the youngest creative director of a big fashion house since Yves Saint Laurent, and the first black creative director at a major luxury fashion label in many years.
  • His Obsession: Music. Michael Jackson is a favorite. His Spring 2019 men’s show in June was a homage to the King of Pop.

Do fashion gatekeepers still exist?

We are living in a world where the consumers are stronger than the reviewers. Everybody has his own aesthetic, has his own taste, and no one is going to tell you what is beautiful or what is not beautiful, what is cool or what is not cool.

Where we are with diversity in the fashion industry?

Right now a lot of people talk about diversity, which makes me really proud because that was a fight I had about eight years ago when I started at Balmain. And I can tell you that that word diversity was not a trend word. A lot of people were saying the way that I was so inclusive was kind of cheapening the fashion world…I see some people today talking about inclusivity that were really actually exclusive three years ago! We have to be careful and not just say diversity’s cool. Because it’s not about being trendy, it’s about pushing the world to go for a vision and an acceptance of what is the world today.

Why do you think there aren’t more successful black designers?

There have always been incredible black designers. But I think before they were not recognized. The difference is that right now, finally, we can recognize them.

At Balmain’s most recent fashion show, why did you incorporate virtual-reality technology?

I wanted to be more inclusive. It was really important to open the fashion shows to a bigger audience.

By not just livestreaming your show?

It’s the next step. Because the livestream is great but the VR with Oculus (a maker of virtual-reality headsets) is like you’re sitting at the show…My goal will be in a few years to make sure that the show can be seen by millions and millions of people that feel like they are sitting there.


You have praised Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld as “the best fashion inspiration in life.” Any others at heritage fashion houses with his gift for courting millennials and not alienating older customers?

No. For me, Karl is the only one that has understood everything about fashion. He had a really old French house and made it really cool and still really relevant. He’s really close to pop culture and at the same time has the old tradition of France. And it’s not about putting sneakers on the runway.

What is the fashion industry’s biggest challenge?

I feel like this is a transition. Everybody’s going to go back to quality. To luxury. To creativity. The biggest challenge for the fashion industry is defining the codes of what is fashion. Who will remain in the fashion business will be people that actually embrace the new world, and who won’t is people that will never understand. Fashion houses, all of them, have codes. But now is the time for defining the new codes and pushing the limits of precedent and pushing the limits of a lot of people that might be like, “Oh, we never do that at the house.” But maybe it’s time for you to do it.

Mr. Rousteing accepted an award from Fashion Group International last month in New York amid members of his ‘Balmain Army.’
Mr. Rousteing accepted an award from Fashion Group International last month in New York amid members of his ‘Balmain Army.’ Photo: Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan

Write to Ray A. Smith at

Why Titans’ Robin Didn’t Start Off As Nightwing

For many of the characters that populate DC Universe’s Titans, the show is about their origin story. When it came to Robin and his journey into becoming Nightwing, the show decided to take a similar approach. If you are curious why, Titans‘ executive producer Geoff Johns has revealed the answer, saying:

What Geoff Johns told DC Comics lines up with what has previously been shared regarding Dick Grayson’s journey in Titans‘ first season. Fans got their first taste of how the split between Dick and Batman was going in the trailer for Titans. Given what Dick said, it was easy to figure out — he has some issues with his former mentor.

It is safe to say that Geoff Johns and company made the right call. Skipping over the beats of Dick Grayson’s life post-Batman would have been a mistake. There is a lot of angst to sift through, and Titans‘ approach has paved the way to explore that. Who is Robin without Batman? Dick Grayson and Batman share a past, and that impact should be felt for some time. Whether they are working together or not.

They shared an intense period of time together as vigilantes. That is life or death stuff right there. Plus, there is the aspect of Batman sort of being Dick’s only family for a while. Having that sort of connection with someone is pretty special. You cannot walk away without some emotional repercussions.

Considering the way things are between Dick Grayson and Batman, focusing on the angle of Grayson sorting things out also gives the show somewhere to go. It makes his eventual evolution into Nightwing something Titans can follow from its genesis. Since Dick is so far removed from where he will eventually be, that may take multiple seasons. Thank goodness, the show was already renewed for a second!

It will not only take time for Robin to become Nightwing, it will also take time for the Titans to form as a team. While Dick Grayson may be struggling with the after-effects of his days as Batman’s sidekick, a new guy is in that slot. Let the rivalry commence!

The cause of Robin’s split with Batman was previously hinted at by actor Brenton Thwaites. He plays Dick Grayson/Robin in the new series. Thwaites shared that, as Titansfirst season progressed, fans would learn more about the backstory behind Dick’s decision to part ways with Batman. Dick had to draw the line somewhere with his now ex-mentor. Despite being out of Batman’s orbit, he will continue to feel the impact of being his protégé.

Find out how, when new episodes of Titans premiere every Friday on DC Universe. The superhero drama is among a bunch of new content offerings available to stream this fall.

Warcraft 3 Is Getting Remastered

During the opening ceremony (via Eurogamer), Blizzard announced Warcraft 3: Reforged as a brand new game set to re-release for the masses in 2019, exclusively on PC … well, for now. I could definitely see Blizzard announcing that the game will also appear on the Nintendo Switch at some point, given that the Switch is one of the few gaming devices actually designed to take advantage of control schemes built for real-time strategy games, thanks to the gyroscopic and accelerometer mechanics, as well as the touchscreen support.