Today, WWD confirms the year-long rumor that Christophe Decarnin will extend his designs for Balmain to menswear, with a presentation at men's Fashion Week this January in Paris, officially making him a part of the growing list of womenswear designers turning to the men. While Christophe has certainly proven himself to be a designer customers love (it's not everyone that can command a $1,400 price tag for a pair of jeans), we're compelled to weigh both sides: - Could a designer best known for slashed skirts, metallics, ass-grazing hemlines and a look Cathy Horyn so aptly summarized as "elegant trash" appropriate translate his general aesthetic to menswear? Because a work-appropriate suit could only really include zebra print if it was somehow worked into the lining, and where's the fun in that? - Are $20,000 suits (because you know that's what they'll cost) really a good idea right now anyway? - Or will the line be the perfect complement to his womenswear, meant for the boy that parties between LA and Rome, who DJ's and maybe paints to explain his living, making bejeweled tees and motorcycle jackets right at home in his Cavalli closet? And most importantly, will it make it past a season? We all know Balmain men's will get all the editorial support in the world, but what about the real world? Guess he could surprise us all and make sharp, super-fitted, classic clothes - but then, why pay for that name tag?
Christophe Decarnin Leaves Balmain
Balmain designer Christophe Decarnin's absence after the label's fall show in Paris raised eyebrows. Rumors followed that the designer had been hospitalized for depression. Now WWD is reporting (and a press release confirms) that after five years, Balmain is parting ways with Decarnin. According to the New York Times, the house will name a successor next week, and the new creative director is expected to come from within the design team. In a press release from Balmain announcing Decarnin's departure, ceo Alain Hivelin said “since 1945, the house of Pierre Balmain has been one of the leading French and international luxury brands. Christophe Decarnin’s work with the house’s design team contributed to the success that the brand has enjoyed in recent years.” Decarnin is credited with building a frenzied hype around the label. His silhouette of strong shoulders on cropped tailored jackets over slashed t-shirts and skinny jeans--a look easily identifiable with Decarnin's stylist during his reign at Balmain, current Vogue Paris EIC Emmanuelle Alt--was something customers wanted, even with the hefty price tags ($1,625 for a ripped t-shirt). As much as customers seemed to lust for Decarnin's Balmain (and editors too, considering the $35,000 gold Balmain dress from fall 2010 that landed seven glossy covers), he had his critics, too--Cathy Horyn once called his clothes "elegant trash." As for who will replace Decarnin?