I’m working my way through the list to complete my Designer Crochet Project, in which I take a look at the career of 50 famous fashion designers and see what crochet they’ve created or inspired. This week we’ll look at Pierre Balmain.
Fashion Designer Pierre Balmain
To begin learning about fashion designer Pierre Balmain I’ll turn to Simon Werle’s 50 Fashion Designers You Should Know. The book says first and foremost that “it was thanks to Pierre Balmain that life returned to Parisian haute couture after World War II”. He made it his mission to do this and made it happen in part by introducing a new silhouette in American Vogue described by Werle as: “very feminine with an ultra-slim waist and a long, lavishly wide, tulle skirt”. It brought glamour back to the fashion scene after the blandness of The Depression and then World War II.
Balmain worked with Christian Dior until opeing his own haute couture salon in 1945. He stayed busy after that, debuting his first perfume the following year and opening an accessories boutique the year after that. Two years later he opened a New York store. By the mid 1950’s he had 600 employees working in 12 shops. He also debuted yet another new silhouette at this time, which Werle describes as “figure-hugging and spreading out only from the knee”. Hollywood stars wore his designs in the 1960’s.
In 1977 Balmain sold his business. He died five years later. The Balmain house of fashion has continued. It was headed by Oscar de La Renta in the 1990s but really gained traction a few years ago under the heading of Christophe Decarnin. A great article about Pierre Balmain explains the Decarnin era, saying, “Within a few seasons, the stylist succeeded in bringing back Pierre Balmain’s heritage and a modernizing the house’s image by creating extra-short, very-evening dresses which were tremendously successful, and an aristo-rock style to match today’s dynamic woman”. In 2011 Decarnin passed the torch to Olivier Rousteing.
Balmain Crochet … Or Something Similar
FarFetch shows a men’s tie by Balmain that looks to be crochet.
House of Balmain’s Spring Summer 2013 collection had some amazing pieces. On closer examination, I don’t think that they are actually crocheted, but they look like they are, and I so love the inspiration!
Here’s another example from that same collection.
The same is true of this 2008 Balmain top
And even this vintage 1966 Balmain dress
Other Beautiful Balmain Designs
I have mixed feelings about this vintage Balmain gown but it’s definitely eyecatching.
1970s Balmain wedding dress
Kristin Davis in vintage Balmain
So it seems like this brand likes a style that mimics crochet but isn’t crochet, from what I can tell, although it often gets mistakenly called crochet in online fashion reports. Thoughts?