Balmain Fashion Label Profile Female: One of the great and legendary Paris fashion centers—the House of Balmain was founded by the king of French fashion and one of the best known dress designers in the world.
The House of Balmain was established by one of the most sophisticated and elegant man around—Pierre Balmain in 1945. He began working for fashion designer Edward Molyneux before opening his own iconic fashion house. His background in architecture was a big influence on his designs and once quoted that dress making is the architecture of movement. He created elegance by using simplicity.
The Balmain hay day was in the 1950’s when his couture house vibe with Cristine Dior. He created all his end designs and his clients were many of the famous actresses including Eva Gardner, Bridgette Bardot and Carol Baker; who in 1964 made a quick visit to the House of Balmain to collect a dress for her film premier. The dress even then was supposedly insured for $100,000.
During the 70’s, Pierre Balmain would often give special previews of some of his outstanding creations where he himself would introduce and describe a representative selection from his showing, featuring sophisticated and refined outfits. His collections would feature different materials such as crepe, furs and silk chiffon, and a variation of pastel colors, pinstripes and colors for evening wear that were dark and romantic.
Balmain died in Paris at the age of sixty-eight and the fashion house was now ran by Danish designer Erick Mortenson who was described as Balmain’s right-hand man.
His funeral on July 5th 1982 was attended by many including the head of another fashion house Pierre Cardin. Mortenson kept with the house’s traditions and develop an update on Pierre’s styles.
Dominican designer Oscar de los Rento took over control in 1993. However in 2002, the veteran designer conjured an opulent Russian winter in his last haute couture collection for Balmain, marking the end of a successful ten-year stint of the French house.
Friends and admirers stand out in force for the farewell as models paraded the catwalk in stunning outfits such as the white velvet frock coat that crawled with hundreds of hand embroidered leaves and roses. The most stunning however, was a gold feather—top head with a bronze fortune included chiffon skirt that was one with a delicate gold tiara.
The challenge for Balamain then was to find a replacement who can match his extensive contact’s list. Young Singapore born designer Andrew Genn was then hired by Balmain to replace De Los Rento.
Having studied at Central Saint Martin’s in London, Genn presented his fast ready-to-wear collection for Balmain in 1998. Colors were either black or scarlet red with trouser suits and skirts below the knees being favorites of his collection.
Today the house is led by designer Kristoff—whose vision is more modern and edgy. In 2006—designs glowed featuring golf leaf and ballets trousers, dazzling silver and gold metallic dresses, and shirts and toga dresses slashed at the back.
The show’s rock and roll aspirations also came into the equation with tattered t-shirts, baggy hair and trousers and Lenny Kravitz in the front row.
For a fashion house that’s made an impact, Balmain now has fans that include Anne Hathaway and took to the red carpet in a glamorous black dress with a twist of glitter around the waist.
Jennifer Connelly and Kate Winslet both turned up to their film premiers in Balmain dresses; as did Gwyneth Paltrow for her UK premier of Ironman, but not only that, she appeared again in Balmain at a charity event where she was to honored.
Throughout the years Balmain has gone from elegance super feminine to a little more chic and modern to cater for the changing times. But even with the changes over the years, one thing’s for sure, Balmain will always be one of the legendary design giants.