It has been reported in several online-news-pages including all Vogue-likes on Facebook and other social platforms: Christophe Decarnin leaves Balmain after nearly 5 years. In 2005, he entered as a star designer for the little overaged label founded by Pierre Balmain in 1945 and it was like a miracle how "Balmania" broke out across the world. All of a sudden, people started talking about that french label nobody from our generation knew before and I personally found it just breathtaking how somebody like Decarnin can design such amazing, sexy, just outstanding dresses.
So no wonder that some people might bemoan that literal resignation while others (including unfortunately me) find it hard to be sad about that fact and rather go for a new era of the (newly) beloved label. I have been talking about Balmain since I started this blog two years ago and I couldn't help it while looking at Decarnin's brilliant work he has done when joining Balmain. Ever since, it seems as if he had lost energy over time. I remember just my latest post about his collection, which I overall commented with "Mr. Decarnin, I think we should change our relationship to 'It's complicated'." since I got more and more disappointed by his imaginations of the different seasons. The personal reason was most probably the fact that I'm just not that kind of girl wearing completely ripped-off leatherjeans being hold together with fixing pins and leatherjackets having the same "problem" just that their prize lies 2000$ somewhere over the already 4000 $ jeans. Maybe this will change.. you never know;).
But trying to look at his past collections a little more objectively, it seemed repetitive, always having the same issue (let's be a little pseudo-punk-rock-chic and meanwhile glamorous while 'glamorous' was disappearing at every new collection as time progressed). Okay, I just realise that this is not objective at all.
Nevertheless, I do not appear to be the only one with this opinion since the New York Times just reported that "Mr. Decarnin hit some kind of personal impasse and lost control of the label" (Cathy Horyn, New York Times on April 6). His absence from Balmain in the weeks before this year's Fashionweek in Paris and his little communication with the label's chief executive may have undermined some assumptions that he might probably leave Balmain.
So what is left to say then? The only thing, which many of us might have already recognised, is the fact that Balmain does not seem to be the only label separating from its (star) designer. Dior just recently kicked out King Galliano (who deserves it) after an anti-semitic outburst. Other brands like Cacharel or Azzaro follow this "trend" dropping their designers with rare explanation and I start to wonder whether we are facing a new designer era, therefore a new (hopefully fresh?) fashion-decade? Is it time for newcomers to overtake such traditional labels in the Kick-it-like-Dior-wave? As Betsy Pearce, consultant and legal adviser who has been representing top designers and executives in the past, said that she "honestly believe(s) the star designer will become less and less of a force, especially for brands that have to answer to shareholders why the business is dropping off"(New York Times on April 6), I must tell that this will most probably be the case. While employing a star designer might have become a clever strategy in the past decade, it is considered to be "shaky at best, often involving designers with little business experience"according to Eric Wilson, journalist reporting for the NY Times. And what is left to say then? It is sad to see how the big as well as the small shiny stars at the fashion-sky seem to burn out. Is brilliance closely related to craziness including pressure from shareholders, fashion magazines and other parts of this industry we do not even think about? This may be the chance for newcomers to establish themselves whether personally in an already well established label or in their own.
I hope Decarnin gets well soon (it was said he must have left because of health issues including mental breakdowns and depression) and that Balmain was not his only baby to watch after. Although we personally went through "complicated" relationship-statuses, I hope that I won't stay "single" for a long time. Maybe it is time to recover and come back with his initial brilliance.
Balmain 2009 (my absolute evergreen)