Since joining Balmain in 2005, Christophe Decarnin has revived the dying and bankrupt fashion house.
Fascinated by old clothes and 1950s Hollywood films from a very young age, Decarnin studied fashion at the ESMOD school in Paris.
He joined Balmain in 2005 after successful stints designing for Paco Rabanne and consulting for Apostrophe.
With 45 days to create his first collection, Decarnin showed straightaway his “semi-couture” aesthetics and love for whites, olives and blacks. Faithful to Pierre Balmain’s concept of focusing on women’s style rather than being fashion-forward, he introduced casual eveningwear immediately liked by young women.
Backed by Emmanuelle Alt and Paris Vogue, Decarnin’s designs quickly appeared on the red carpet. The high price tag of Balmain (for Spring 10, a basic t-shirt retails for about £1000) is part of its appeal among its clientele.
Credited with the trend for sharp-shouldered jackets, dresses and t-shirts and the “Balmania”, Decarnin strongly influences the high street. Sequined dresses and ripped jeans similar to the ones he designed can be found in fashion chains such as Zara and Topshop.
Shying away from stardom, Decarnin is one of the most private designers of his generation.
1964 Birth in France
1981 Studies at the ESMOD school in Paris
1993 Creative director, Paco Rabanne
2000 Consultant, Apostrophe
2005 Creative director, Balmain