The Balmain label was founded by Pierre Balmain in Paris, in 1945, after the war ended in Europe. The first collection of Balmain ateliers of that era had a ‘new look’ silhouette reminiscent of Dior. No wonder Pierre Balmain befriended Christian Dior early in his second career. The two of them almost decided to work together. Although in the end decided that they were not compatible.
After World War II, big names Balmain began to explore Europe to America. He also began to dress up many famous stars of that time. The availability of materials, after the war period where everything was rationed – including cloth to make clothes – made many designers at that time finally make dresses that were so glamorous. Balmain fashion house slowly established its position from then on. Including being one of the first to start the popularity of haute couture in Europe. Pierre Balmain believes that haute couture dresses should be made with great detail, have a relaxed yet very elegant mood, still luxurious even after years of wear.
Balmain entered the plains of America in 1951 and later it turned out that he had collaborated with Singapore Airlines to design flight attendant uniforms inspired by Indonesian sarongs and kebayas. The 60’s and 80’s were busy years for Balmain. He works behind the scenes to prepare costumes for stars in Broadway shows and Hollywood films.
After the death of Pierre Balmain in 1982, the fashion house was continued by his right-hand man Erik Mortensen. In the hands of Erik, this fashion house is growing rapidly. After that, Balmain experienced ups and downs and almost completely sank, until finally Oscar De La Renta joined as head designer. The joining of De La Renta is truly a match for Balmain. Oscar managed to bring back star culture as a loyal client of Balmain, and perfected the label’s signature chic and elegant aesthetic.
Until the first 10 years in the 2000s era, Balmain was held by 3 head designers, each of which has its own characteristics. When Christophe Decarnin joined as head designer, he made Balmain even more famous among emerging pop culture. Including being very popular among the print media.
Until the end of 2010, this label passed a very dynamic mood in its collections. Starting from the glamorous boho aesthetic for the Spring Summer 2008 collection, to the hard rock theme that has punk nuances but is super glamorous in the latter half. This theme then lasted quite a long time, even today. Balmain is loyal to power shoulders, luxurious embellishments on retro-themed jackets, and Baroque themes that are twisted in such a way.
Olivier Rousteing joined in 2011 in place of Decarnin and received great response for his first collection. It is considered to have the same ‘star power’ as its predecessor. He made Balmain more and more popular with Hollywood’s top celebrities and always presented cool stylings, which were quickly imitated by many high street fashion brands. Kim Kardashian and Kendall Jenner are Rousteing’s newest ‘signs’, which of course adds to the exposure needed for this label to be known to the world. Rousteing brings the mood of the 90s, rock and roll, punk, and military into his canvas creations.
Elements that are tough, so dynamic, and young at heart are what Balmain looks like today. So current, so different, and why not? Balmain releases become sophisticated in different exposures.