Designer Christophe Decarnin to Exit Balmain

photo WWD

The fashion house founded in 1945 by Pierre Balmain has another shake up going on. Since the privately held brands incarnation it has been at the top of the list for French fashion mavens and over the last few decades…any maven who could afford it. The last few years have been a tad shaky for the house since Oscar de la Rental left his ten year stint as Balmains Couturier in 2002. After that there was a slew of Ready to Wear designers that sat at the helm including Gilles Dufour, Andrew Gn. Laurent Mercier and Christophe Lebourg but none ignited the flame into the brand quite like Christophe Decarnin has over the last few years.

photo WWD

Decarnin left Paco Rabanne after a seven year run in 2005 and joined Balmain. He immediately took the brand into a hot streak creating thigh-skimming dresses, gauzy t-shirts, and ornately embroidered pieces at incredibly lush prices that still flew off the racks in record time…. Not to mention the waiting lists across the globe from Africa, to Asia to NYC USA.

Now Balmain and Decarnin are parting ways. The avidly shy designer was missing in action at the Paris show last month amidst rumors of mental health issues… the truth was he was under doctors orders to rest after seeking treatment for depression. And now the brand- expectedly to announce the split any day now –is seeking a successor.

As reported by WWD.
Decarnin extended his domain into men’s wear, turning out ripped jeans and tough leather blousons.__In a rare interview last year as he unveiled Balmain’s revamped original flagship on the Rue François 1er here, (Balmain’s CEO ) Alain Hivelin cited sales growth in excess of 50 percent in recent years, and a desire to keep a tight rein on distribution for the top line, which boasts T-shirts retailing for $1,600, jackets for $5,000 and runway dresses for upward of $60,000.__Nevertheless, Hivelin has quietly tested future avenues of growth for the brand, including a less expensive line dubbed Balmain Blue that is said to have irked Decarnin and was never brought to market.__As reported, sources said this week Ittierre SpA may have secured a license with Balmain, but the French firm and the Italian manufacturer have been mum on the subject. At present, Ittierre produces the C’N’C Costume National, Galliano, Ermanno Ermanno Scervino and Just Cavalli collections, and is said to be keen to expand its stable of international fashion labels.

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