Balmain, elegance first of all
Pierre Balmain was born in San Giovanni di Moriana , a half-Italian village in the Rhone-Alpes region of France, on May 18, 1914. He is the son of a merchant but had a keen sense of art and taste, which led him first to study at the Academy of Art and then – after interrupting his studies – to work for Edward Molyneux for five years, from 1934 to 1939, and then for the Maison Lelongue atelier . This is the fashion house that creates, among others, the wide and narrow skirt at the waist, which he would have depopulated in the Thirties and Forties, but which the young Balmain did not like. They are not classy, they are not elegant. He then decides to sell the clothes that he himself designs and opens a small atelierin the province.
World War II prevents him from continuing and only on his return can he take the company back and make it grow. After working for Lelongue he moves to Paris and tries the great adventure, always keeping in mind elegance above all .
Launches the Balmain maison, destined for great goals.
The stylist of the divas
Balmain’s small shop was discovered almost by chance by the young actresses of Paris and it is thanks to their word of mouth that her dresses, between 1949 and 1960, became synonymous with high quality fashion among the divas of theater and cinema. In the twenty years of her greatest success, Pierre dresses famous and glamorous characters such as Grace Kelly, Sophia Loren, Helena Rubinstein, the Duchess of Kent, Dalida and other divas of the time.
Hollywood falls in love with his style and wants him as a costume designer for many films, which brings him several major awards. Balmain also designs the stewardess uniforms of the Singapore Airlines airline , vaguely inspired by traditional kebayas , which immediately become iconic.
Success is now unstoppable. It also begins to diversify its production, by launching fragrances such as Vent Vert. But in the 70s the maison entered a serious economic crisis.
His life is as discreet as it is successful. He is known to have dated a few men, the last of whom ( Erik Mortensen ) inherits the heavy load of his he company when Balmain dies of liver cancer in 1982 after completing the designs for his latest fall collection. However, the new owner fails to save Balmain from ruin.
The elegant style of this costume artist was rediscovered and re-proposed in the nineties by Oscar De La Renta who took the title of the company and gave it new life, bringing new vital and modern lymph to that name so important and famous.
Today Balmain has become a new and very dynamic company . She collaborates at full speed with names such as Victoria’s Secret , Valentino , but also with fast fashion brands such as H&M, bringing class and style even to more commercial levels. Today they are big clients of Balmain Angelina Jolie, Penelope Cruz and Kate Moss.
The company is also mentioned in a verse of the song Where do you go to my lovely , by Peter Sarstedt, confirming that the name has returned to circulate in elegant environments.
The art of Balmain today is that of knowing how to combine luxury and popularity, always following the initial instinct of its founder who now seems more alive than ever.
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