The name Pierre Balmain stands for a unique concept of design elegance, a clientele of royalty and film stars, and a fashion hallmark recognized throughout the world as Haute Couture.
The name Pierre Balmain is synonymous with elegance. The name conjures associations with a clientele composed of royalty and film stars spring to mind. Pierre Balmain was born in St Jean de Maurienne, Savoie in 1914. He trained with both Molyneux and Lucien Lelong before opening his own Haute Couture in Paris following World War 2.
A success from its outset, the 1960s were a particularly rewarding time for Balmain, whose uncluttered fashion designs focused on structure and contrasts of cut and style.
Balmain designed personal wardrobes for numerous international stars, including Brigitte Bardot, Marlene Dietrich, and Katherine Hepburn among others.. This period also marked Balmain’s first meeting with Her Majesty Queen Sirikit of Thailand , who chose him to be her personal couturier.
The ready-to-wear division, founded in the 1970s gradually made an impact on the market and now holds some 220 licenses worldwide.
With the death of Pierre Balmain in 1982, the torch was passed to Erik Mortensen, his personal assistant since 1951 and closest collaborator. Mortensen maintained the House’s traditions but developed and updated styles and designs in the spirit of its founder. In recognition of his achievements he won the France Haute Couture Golden Thimble Awards for his Autumn-Winter 1983/1984 collection. He was again awarded this honour in 1987.
Following Mortensens departure from the House of Balmain in 1990, he was replaced by Hervé-Pierre, who served as fashion designer for 3 years for both the Haute Couture and ready-to-wear collections.
In 1993 American fashion designer Oscar de la Renta signed his first Haute Couture collection for Pierre Balmain and remained there till 2002. A decline has been witnessed in recent years not halted with Haute Couture designs by Laurent Mercier and then Christophe Lebourg.