Every runway show ends the same way: all the models walk the finale and then the designer emerges, waves, and darts off. After Balmain‘s fall 2011 show, there was an awkward silence as the label’s creative director, Cristophe Decarnin, failed to appear. Buyers and editors sat in their seats as the lights came up instead of making a beeline for the door. The question on everyone’s mind: Where was Cristophe Decarnin?
According to WWD, “the designer was absent under doctor’s orders, after having recently been released from the hospital, where he was said to have been treated for depression. A Balmain spokesman said Decarnin was involved in the design.”
The news of Decarnin’s absence due, reportedly, to depression shouldn’t completely overshadow the clothes that came down the runway. Working with new stylist Melanie Ward (she replaced Emmanuelle Alt), the collection was less grungey and gaudy than seasons past, but still opulent enough to rival the overly ornate setting for the show at the ballroom at Le Grand Hotel. There were less beat up jeans and tattered tees and more glammed out shiny leather suiting and beaded body suits a la Jem and the Holograms. Of course there were the strong shoulders, this time covered in fur. The thick long sleeved minidresses, striped in thick strips of gold and brocade and mirrors–a magpie’s delight–were standouts.
**All photos: Imaxtree