What is Balmain? – A Comprehensive Guide Before Shopping
Balmain is one of the leading French luxury fashion houses, recognized worldwide for its luxurious and timeless designs. Since its establishment in 1945, the iconic brand has been inspiring style-lovers and fashion aficionados with its sharp lines, edgy silhouettes and bold military-inspired aesthetic.In this comprehensive guide, we explore everything you need to know about Balmain, including the history, designers and key pieces, so you can make an informed decision before shopping.
History of Balmain
Early BeginningsSince 1945, Balmain has been creating beautiful and lasting garments from Paris. It was Pierre Balmain who was responsible for laying the foundations of the brand, an experienced tailor with a strong understanding of the world of fashion.Born in 1914, Balmain graduated from the renowned Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1933. After spending two years honing his craft in the studios of Molyneux and Redfern, Balmain launched his eponymously named couture house in 1945.The brand quickly made a name for itself due to its modern take on classic detailing and timeless, yet contemporary styles. Over the next decade, the popularity of Balmain grew considerably. High-profile customers included Grace Kelly, Brigitte Bardot and Queen Sirikit of Thailand.The Creative Genius: Oscar de la RentaPierre Balmain remained at the helm until his death in 1982 when long-term employee and friend, Oscar de la Renta, took over as creative director and maintained his predecessor’s couture vision. De la Renta introduced a softer silhouette to womenswear dresses and suits and shifted menswear towards a sharper silhouette with more focus on military-inspired elements. Under his direction, Balmain increased their eveningwear range and grew sales by expanding into ready-to-wear and private labels.Recent SuccessDespite Oscar de la Renta’s death in 2014, the brand has continued to build on its reputation under designer Olivier Rousteing. Since 2011, Rousteing has continued to expand the design portfolio with pieces heavily inspired by Balmain’s emblematic heritage. Drawing on traditional elegance and bold references to street culture, Rousteing has built a global empire focused on modern luxury clothing. In 2017, Balmain rose to new heights when it became the first fashion house to sell majority stake of its empire to investors like Mayhoola for Investments. Mayhoola later opened the doors for Balmain to make their mark on high street fashion, striking deals with popular brands like H&M and launching successful unisex collections with Nike.
Designers Who Contributed to Balmain’s Heritage
|Pierre Balmain||1945 – 1967|
|Esprit||1968 – 1982|
|Oscar de la Renta||1982 – 2014|
|Olivier Rousteing||2011 – Present|
Key Pieces by Balmain
There’s something for everyone in the Balmain wardrobe. For womenswear, there are striking blazers with intricate lapels, asymmetrical dresses with plunging necklines and masculine coats adorned with gold military-style buttons. When it comes to shoes, you can find pointed leather ankle boots and platform pumps featuring suave print or colour designs. Other timeless items include mini shoulder bag clutches and jumpsuits – perfect for special occasions. As for menswear, classic Balmain jackets include one-button styles that are still popular today. The tailored trousers also made their mark for their detailed–twill texture that frames slim silhouettes. When it comes to footwear, the fashion house offers stylish monk–strap shoes crafted from sumptuous leathers that can be perfectly paired with complimentary jumpers, bomber jackets or cardigans.
Unisex Collections at Balmain
Aside from Balmain’s individual Menswear and Womenswear collections, they have welcomed equal transformations with their Unisex collections. Notable collaborations include their ongoing partnership with Nike. Combining both brands creative vision has allowed unique exploration within items from parkas to underwear sets. More recently, iconic tactical designs have emerged from their partnership with Puma who focus on adapting life-style habits through their fashion lines intertwined with physical activities like soccer and running. Their collection which houses apparel include athletic hoodies featuring signature laser cut panels and reflective graphics have also become popular cultural trends as each item is current season friendly for both gender identities and sizes range from extra small to double extra large .
Did You Know…?
Did you know that Usher was one of the first celebrities to champion the brand? After launching his own music label US Records and winning numerous Grammy awards in 2004, Usher was looking for bold new styles to complete his tour wardrobe when he decided to exclusively dress in Balmain during his “Truth Tour” in 2004. Not much later, celebrities like Kanye West followed suit and have been donning closely fitted blazers by the French fashion house ever since.
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for iconic luxury pieces that never go out of style, then you can be sure you’re shopping wisely when selecting an item from Balmain’s beautiful collections. With an illustrious past rooted in French haute couture combined with modern influences like street culture featuring collaborations such as NikexBalmain and PUMAxBalmain provide added flexibility in style dependence of current fashion trends. Let your style shine proudly as you step out in bold colors or strong military inspired designs by this French fashion house!