While I’m wearing a full Balmain look from Society Club Store in Monaco , let’s take the opportunity with this post to explore the brand and discover why its founder, Pierre Balmain, has been one the few visionary designers guiding French fashion to its renaissance after the Second World War.
Pierre Balmain (1914-1982) was born in France and surrounded by fashion on all sides. His father owned a drapery business and his mother and sister managed a boutique where he often worked after his dad passed away. He studied architecture to please his Mom but due to his love of fashion and eye for design, he spent the majority of his time designing dresses.
After serving in the French Air Force and being called to war from 1939 to 1941, he became the assistant to master Parisian couturier Lucien Lelong, which led to meeting Christian Dior and Hubert de Givenchy. In the autumn of 1945, Balmain left Lelong to create his own self-titled fashion house. Balmain’s signature “Jolie Madame” quickly became a favorite in both European and Hollywood circles, bringing opulence and glamour back to fashion after war had generated a series of simple styles and silhouettes due to the rationalization of fabrics.
Audrey Hepburn, Ava Gardner, Brigitte Bardot, Josephine Baker, Katherine Hepburn, Marlene Dietrich and Sophia Loren were some of the many stars drawn to Balmain’s richly embroidered fabrics, nipped-in waists and longer, fuller skirts.
Since Pierre Balmain left in 1982, the couture house proudly retained the vision and spirit instilled by its founder from the very beginning. A series of strong and talented designers, including Erik Mortensen, Herve-Pierre, Oscar de la Renta, Laurent Mercier and Christophe Decarnin, have guided the brand into a new era, respecting the tradition and foundations laid out by the house.
Since 2011, Olivier Rousteing has taken the reigns, creating successful and internationally acclaimed collections incorporating the house’s main characteristics: classic couture, tailoring and intricate embroidery. With his modernist approach and attention to details, Rousteing respects Balmain’s main objective—to always dress women in the right look for the right moment.
Pierre Balmain’s atelier in the heart of Paris—located at 44 rue François 1er—is still Balmain’s flagship today, evolving through history with different designs before finally returning to its original 18th century grandeur in 2009 thanks to a restoration of the leaf finish, 1940’s furniture and stunning Versailles Parquet.
After delving into Balmain’s past, let’s take a look at the present, briefly exploring the Balmain outfit I’m wearing in this shoot.
The white linen long-sleeved T-shirt boasts a crew neck, a cut that happens to fit me perfectly. I like the fact that the sleeves are longer than the standard length, adding something special and modern to the style.
I accented the shirt with a beige biker-style cotton-jersey hoodie emblazoned with the signature Balmain quilted shoulder panels. The mix of pockets and zip on the front gives this hoodie an additional twist.
Keeping in theme, I paired the jacket with beige cargo biker stretch denim jeans accented with zippers, pockets and intricate stitching detail. On my feet, I’m wearing perforated white leather high-top sneakers that weave in just a bit of color in patches on the sides and under the laces.
To complete this look, I’ve thrown on a few bracelets and a ring from M. Cohen, topping everything off with a pair of shades from Opticien Créateur.
Visit Society Club store located at Metropole Monaco Shopping Center to discover the new Balmain Collection. Website : www.society-club.com
If you like the stunning and exclusive shades visit the shop of Opticien Créateur located 5 Impasse de la Fontaine, 98000 Monaco: www.opticien-createur.com
Executive Producer, Director, AuthorTom Claeren
Make Up ArtistKelly McClain
Hair StylistClaudio Piroso
Text editorLane Nieset