Balmain and Christophe Decarnin Part Ways

Stylist Melanie Ward expected to be named as designer

Photo by Anthea Simms

Balmain has confirmed that they have parted ways with creative director Christophe Decarnin. Decarnin, who ushered in the Balmania era of ultra-beaded mini-dresses and $1,800 distressed jeans, missed the brand’s Fall 2011 show at Paris Fashion Week. Though some speculated that he had been admitted to a psychiatric ward, the house stated that he had been resting under doctor’s orders.

WWD reports that there had been some tension between Decarnin and Balmain’s CEO, Alan Hivelin, about the direction of the house. For example, the proposed, more accessibly-priced Balmain Blue line, which bothered Decarnin so much, it was never released to stores.

Whatever one might think about the saleability of ready-to-wear dresses that retail for $60,000, there’s no question that Decarnin’s appointment in 2007 brought fashion status to a brand that had been languishing with its name on hair extensions and men’s poly-cotton dress shirts.  Carine Roitfeld was a big supporter of the house, though there was a falling out last year that revolved around accusations of the former Paris Vogue editor allegedly ferrying Balmain samples to Max Mara to be copied.

Balmain is expected to announce a successor in the next week, with signs pointing to stylist Melanie Ward, who was responsible for finishing the Fall 2011 show in Decarnin’s absence.