August 30 2014

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20 posts tagged "Christophe Decarnin"

More Flash Than Trash:
Olivier Rousteing At Balmain


After creating, with stylist Emmanuelle Alt, the phenomenon of Balmainia, former creative director Christophe Decarnin abruptly departed from the house he’d brought back to relevance, citing only medical concerns. As the press buzzed about the escalating pressures of the industry (in the wake not only of Decarnin’s departure but of Galliano’s anti-Semitic outburst and McQueen’s suicide), the label appointed an impossibly young, all but untested designer to take his place: The then-25-year-old Frenchman Olivier Rousteing, who’d worked under Decarnin at the height of Balmain’s moment.

Rousteing, a veteran of Roberto Cavalli under Peter Dundas and Balmain under Decarnin, presented his first collection for Resort 2011 and followed it up with a well-received first show for Spring that kept the glitz and glamour but lost some of the rock ‘n’ roll trashiness that had given previous collections their edge. Critics and buyers—even those who had been Decarnin’s boosters—responded. On a recent trip to New York, Rousteing spoke with about his vision for the house, the high pressure of the industry, and why you won’t see any shredded T-shirts on his watch.

You joined Balmain in 2009, at a time when there was so much excitement around the label—Balmainia, as it were. What was that like?
I went there when it was Balmainia…I understood when I came to the house that it was a really small house with a really big name. But there wasn’t all the structure. It was super-interesting—there was not a lot of people. What is nice at Balmain is not only this part, the Balmainia, but even before; you have access to amazing archives. That was a good thing too with this house. It’s a really French house; it [has] old history.

Is that what you still look back to for your own collections?
When I arrived, I loved the rock ‘n’ roll sex appeal that was in the house, [and] I loved to work with Christophe, obviously. But what I learned from this house is that there is a real DNA, something from the past that I want to bring back. I want to bring the couture feeling that I tried to during the summer [for Spring 2011].

To temper the rock ‘n’ roll with something a little more classic.
I think “classic” is the right word. I want to go to something more timeless. Something that goes for the future. What I love from the old French house, it’s not seasonal. It’s something that stays. That’s my goal for Balmain. Keeping the sexiness but a bit dressier. For a woman who’s more chic, [to] expand from the woman who was before.

There was obviously an enormous amount of pressure on Christophe Decarnin, as there is on all major designers today. Is that something that concerns you?
I believe a lot in the place where I work. I love the brand. The people that work with me are my friends. Already that creates a really good structure, a good system. When Christophe [was] gone, for sure, it was hard for us, but I love [for] the brand to keep going. What I think is nice now is that I can give myself inside the house now, more than before. There were many things I liked with Christophe, and many things that were not me. Now it’s completely me. Continue Reading “More Flash Than Trash:
Olivier Rousteing At Balmain” »

Fabergé Lays A New Egg In London, No Free Panties For VS Angels, Christophe Decarnin’s Extremely Limited-Edition Dress For Sale, And More…


Fabergé opened its first boutique in 96 years in London today. The shop will be selling its famous jeweled eggs along with a new collection of high-end jewelry and watches. [Telegraph]

Apparently, getting your Angel wings and modeling Victoria’s Secret’s most expensive bra doesn’t mean you get free lingerie from the brand. Miranda Kerr was spotted shopping at Victoria’s Secret over the weekend in New York with her baby son Flynn. [Huff Po]

The costume designer for My Week With Marilyn, Jill Taylor, says the goal was to show another side of the blonde bombshell’s style. “She’s known for her showstopping glamorous gowns, but after studying hundreds of books and photographs, we found out that Marilyn actually dressed for comfort.” [Vogue U.K.]

If you had any interest in getting your hands on Christophe Decarnin’s metallic silk runway dress from his Fall 2011 collection, you better move quickly. There is only one of the Balmain dresses available in the world and it’s on today. []

Starting December 5, you can access five decades of Valentino Garavani’s archives with the click of a button. The Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum, an application you can download to your computer, offers a 3-D experience to view over 5,000 images of the designer’s dresses, illustrations, and photos, along with 95 fashion show videos. []

Olivier Rousteing Named Designer Of Balmain


One designer vacancy, at least, has been filled. Balmain announced today that Olivier Rousteing, who has been in charge of the womenswear design studio at the label, has been named its new designer. Rousteing, a relative unknown outside of fashion circles, has worked at Balmain since 2009; prior to that, he spent five years at Roberto Cavalli. Rousteing was born in France and raised in Bourdeaux, and holds a degree from the Parisian fashion school ESMOD. What’s his plan for Balmain? Only time, apparently, will tell. The designer is said not to be giving any interviews prior to the debut of his Spring ’12 collection in Paris later this year.

Update: Melanie Ward, the legendary stylist and Helmut Lang alum who was brought in to work on the Fall ’11 collection and was considered one potential candidate to take the reins after Christophe Decarnin’s departure, will no longer be working with the label.

Photo: Courtesy of Balmain

Designer Firings: A Silver Lining?


There’s another seat open at the designer fashion table. News broke today that Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi (above), creative directors of Gianfranco Ferré, are out at the Italian house (no word on their namesake collection, which presumably will continue for the present). Reports blame dwindling sales for the duo’s departure. But they’re only the latest in a string of designers who have left or been ousted from their positions at major European labels: Milan Vukmirovic at Trussardi 1911; Clare Waight Keller at Pringle of Scotland; Vanessa Seward at Azzaro. (Christophe Decarnin is out at Balmain, though under murkier circumstances; and of course, John Galliano has been let go from both Christian Dior and his namesake label. Although Chloé’s Hannah MacGibbon has been signed for another season, some industry observers are speculating that her time at the label is nearing a close—a speculation not necessarily refuted by the terse statements label CEO Geoffroy de la Bourdonnaye has been giving the press.)

No one would argue that getting fired is fun. But it’s worth remembering that, in fashion at least, many of those who have been removed from their posts—either gently (with contracts not renewed) or not so gently—have gone on to bigger and better. The classic example is Yves Saint Laurent. The young designer took the top spot at Christian Dior when Dior himself died suddenly in 1957. Saint Laurent created a few headline-making shows, but soon after ran afoul of the management and was summarily dismissed. The result? His own label, founded in 1961. The rest, as they say, is history.

In more recent years, there’s the famous story of Marc Jacobs, fired from Perry Ellis after his seminal Spring ’93 grunge collection—too hot for the American label’s taste, but seen in retrospect as enduringly influential. (Patrick Robinson also got the axe at Perry Ellis before landing at another American sportswear legend: The Gap.) Both Peter Dundas and Giambattista Valli exited the house of Ungaro under dark clouds; today, their collections (for Emilio Pucci and for Valli’s namesake line) are among the most admired in fashion. Olivier Theyskens has gone from Rochas to Nina Ricci to current acclaim at Theory, and Alessandra Facchinetti, formerly of Gucci and Valentino, has found new life working on Tom Ford’s womenswear. As for Ford, he has seen both sides: famously losing his Gucci crown before starting his own empire, while also electing not to retain Alber Elbaz at YSL in the late nineties. “From every place or everything you do, you learn what to do and also you learn what not to do,” Elbaz told of the experience in an interview last year. “I would not change anything if you would ask me. I would still go through the experience I went through. I learned a lot from it. I went through a certain experience that wasn’t easy, but guess what? Nothing is easy anyway, so I’m fine with that.” As the creative director of Lanvin, Elbaz has brought the label back to relevance and racked up success after success; it may not be easy, but he sure makes it look that way.

What will the future hold for Aquilano and Rimondi, Decarnin, or even Galliano (whose own rather more complicated situation is discussed at length in WWD today)? Too soon to tell. Some will argue that in today’s economic climate opportunities will be fewer and corporate titans more inclined to pick low key, perhaps unknown designers. But to judge from the past, fashion is a merry go-round (or should that be rollercoaster?), and for some of these designers at least, it’s entirely possible that the best is yet to come.

Photo: Marcus Tondo /

On Tom Ford, The Royal Wedding Dress, And Decarnin’s Departure: FGI’s Fashion Experts Weigh In


In an industry that revolves around opinion, don’t be surprised to hear an earful from a fashion-packed panel. Following Fashion Group International’s thorough distillation of Fall 2011 clothing, accessories, and beauty trends yesterday, Bridget Foley of Women’s Wear Daily tackled other, more controversial industry matters. Foley moderated a panel—composed of Neiman Marcus’ Ken Downing, Kirna Zabête co-founder Beth Buccini, Paper magazine’s Mickey Boardman, and Marie Claire beauty director Ying Chu—that discussed everything from John Galliano’s scandal to Tom Ford’s showmanship.

On the theory that inhuman amounts of stress was at fault for the recent departures of John Galliano and Christophe Decarnin (left), the panel was unflinching. “We all have stresses,” Buccini stated. “Buck up or don’t play.” “Manage yourself,” Downing agreed.

Dichotomies such as intimate runways versus inclusive spectacles drew more mixed results. The Neiman Marcus fashion director raved about Tom Ford’s private London showing this past February. Boardman preferred cozy settings as well, although with a caveat. “I like shows as small as possible, but large enough to have me invited,” the editor said with a laugh. Buccini, meanwhile, added a realist bent. “You can only get away with something so small if you’re Tom Ford,” she said.

Of course, there were more frothy and fun topics, too, including the royal wedding. Panel members shared their wedding gown wishes for the soon-to-be princess. “I just hope it’s a slender cut,” Downing said of the buzzed-about dress. “Leave the meringue for the cake!” With the nuptials a couple weeks way, there’s still plenty of time for some last minute decision-making. At least Buccini will be rising early to watch. “My mom woke me up to watch the Princess Di wedding,” she told after the discussion. “And now I’m going to watch with my two daughters. It’s like a tradition now.”

Photo: Yannis Vlamos /