Pierre Balmain was born in St Jean de Maurienne, Savoie in 1914. He owed his early training to the two greatest designers of the time - Molyneux and Lucien Lelong - opening his own Haute Couture house immediately following the war, in the autumn of 1945, on the Rue Francois 1er in Paris. Clients quickly flocked to Balmain, and were thrilled to discover the new image he had created for women. The Balmain woman had shed the last vestiges of wartime hardship with abundant insouciance and charm, and heralded a return to opulence in richly embroidered gowns and ensembles.
With the disappearance of Pierre Balmain in 1982, the torch was passed to Erik Mortensen - his personal assistant since 1951 and his closest colaborator - who maintained the House's traditions while developing and updating styles and designs in the spirit of its founder. In recognition of this achievement, Mortensen won tne France Haute Couture Golden Thimble Awards for his Automn-Winter 1983/1984 collection. Erik Mortensen then went onto his second French Haute Couture Golden Thimble Award, presented at the Palais Galliera on 31 July 1987, for his Autumn-Winter 1987/1988 collection. When Erik Mortensen left the House of Balmain in July 1990, he was replaced by youthful Herve-Pierre, who served as designer from 1990 through 1993 for both the Haute Couture and ready-to-wear collections.
In January 1993, internationally renowned American designer Oscar de la Renta signed his first Haute Couture collection for Pierre Balmain and has now rejuvinated the line while respecting the colours, the fluidity and elegance of the "Jolie Madame" esprit. He held the position as Creative Director for 10 years.
Since them Laurent Mercier and Christophe Lebourg had served as Creative Directors. Most recently after an hiatus, Balmain returned to the fashion world in 2006 as Christophe Decarnin at the helm.
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