Saturday, March 6, 2010

Christophe Decarnin for Balmain

Ornate textures for Fall 2010 (Runway shots from

The fall collections were just shown in Paris; I have for a while been admiring the work of Christophe Decarnin at Balmain.

You know Balmain – the classic French design house. Pierre Balmain was born in 1914 and studied architecture in Paris, but left school to work for fashion designer Edward Molyneux. Balmain founded his own house in 1945 and incorporated his studies into his elegantly shaped and draped designs: "Dressmaking is the architecture of movement" said Balmain. Here is the old boy now, fitting a dress on the actress Ruth Ford in 1947.

(photo by Carl Van Vecht)
Pierre Balmain died in 1982. For nine years, from 1993 to 2002, Oscar de lat Renta designed the Balmain couture collections. Afterwards, the house fell on hard times and had to file for bankruptcy. Subsequently it was revived and investors brought on board French designer Christophe Decarnin, from Paco Rabanne, to resuscitate the label for a younger customer.

For Spring 2009 Decarnin showed great military jackets with exaggerated shoulders and button plackets.

I think a year and a half ago he single-handedly started the military trend that is sweeping fashion this spring.

For Spring 2010, he continued with the military jackets, adding ornate fringe at the shoulder and rows of shiny buttons.

Things got a little rough with ripped t shirts and tight black leather jeans.

The military jacket with its strong shoulder and nipped waist is so flattering, on women and men. It has a tailored, polished line that looks good on everyone. It's a simple way to add a sharp element to the wardrobe. These Balmain clothes are famously expensive, but the look is easy to copy, even at the army and navy store.
Here is Chistophe Decarnin at the end of the Spring 2010 show.

For Fall 2010, just shown in Paris, he toned it down with suits for work. The gold stripes and glossy buttons still have a military feeling.

This suit with a chiffon blouse looks like classic Yves Saint Laurent.

Hard and soft: navy jacket and gold lame jeans.

A slim military-inspired navy wool jacket with gold buttons is a good idea for spring and something I am seeing already on guys on the street in New York City.


The Sluice Box said...

I'm always intrigued to see what the designer looks like. I've ceased being surprised when their own attire bears no resemblance to what they send down the runway. Great summary of Balmain

Convivio said...

If I may say so (and if it's not to cliché), trés chic!