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Balmain might be one of the most elegant fashion houses of all times. Today we have the appointment of Olivier Rousteing as the

olivier rousteing
Photo : Karim Sadli

new Artistic director of the Fashion House. He will supervise the design and development of the brand’s men’s and women’s ready-to-wear collections. Mr. Rousteing joined Balmain in 2009 and was up to now leading the Women’s Wear design studio. Before joining Balmain, he worked for Roberto Cavalli as fashion designer for both men’s and women’s collections. He is 25 years old, french and he accomplished his studies at Paris’s École Supérieure Des Arts Et Techniques De La Mode (ESMOD) in 2003.

But the french house has a glamourous history thanks to its founder, Mr Pierre Balmain. He was born in 1914 in St Jean de Maurienne in France. He studied under the greatest couturiers of the time, Molyneux and Lucien Lelong. After Second world war, he opened his own Couture house and set up business in the Rue François 1er.
The 50’s  was the return into the timeless elegance. Dior had his “New look” and Balmain the “Jolie Madame”. Luxury and good taste was at honor.

pierre balmainWe needed to wait for the 60’s to get a hint of modernity in the use of new materials and shapes. For Pierre Balmain, the 1960s were an occasion for renewal and the use of fabrics to explore pared-down shapes, in which structure acquired its full meaning. It involved a clashing and melding of new shapes and styles. It was also a sumptuous period for stage and theatre costumery (source:

Pierre Balmain was the couturier of the stars. All beautiful and famous women dressed with Balmain: Brigitte Bardot, Marlène Dietrich or Katherine Hepburn. Pierre Balmain represented a certain idea of elegance and a clientele of queens, princesses and starlets, but as a label it was also very firmly established in the everyday world. The 1970s gave birth to the Ready-to-wear phenomenon, which secured a solid foothold in the market and which is currently producing some particularly satisfactory results with over 200 licences.

After Pierre Balmain’s death in 1982, the house was led by Erik Mortensen, described by Vogue as Pierre Balmain’s “right hand.” Oscar de la Renta led the house between 1993 and 2001. Under Pierre Balmain, Mortensen, and de la Renta, the house was known for its classic, luxurious design. In 2008 and 2009, the clothing line became extremely popular both among fashion magazines, runways and celebrities. His 2010 collection, shown during Paris fashion week, was said to be “totally retro” and brought back the glitz and glitter of the 70s disco era. Unfortunately, the Spring/Summer 2011 collection has been heavily criticised as “nothing new”.

Today, the appointment of Olivier Rousteing represents a new start. Is Balmain going to get back on track? We bet it will!.
Here is one of my preferred look of the latest collection A/W 2011-2012. For more information check the brand website.
balmain A/W 2011/2012