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THE ORIGINS

For 75 years, Balmain has consistently turned to singular craftsmanship and impeccable tailoring to create a unique and recognizable silhouette. Paradoxically, it is the continual reliance on the historical strengths of our atelier that allows us to create the most stirring visions of the future and the most daring of collections that reflect the popular culture of the present.

The historical address of44 Rue François 1er

©Archives Balmain - Rights reserved

WATCH BELOW THE INTERVIEW OF OLIVIER ROUSTEING AND SPECIAL GUEST VALERIE STEELE, DIRECTOR OF THE MUSEUM AT THE FASHION INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

When we look at Pierre Balmain’s Jolie Madame style and spirit—the impressive cuts, colors, materials and spirit of our founder—it’s very easy to see how he pushed fashion in new directions to reflect a new mindset. Pierre Balmain’s distinctive contribution to the postwar fashion was therefore a true reflection of the empowering spirit of that new age, when women were suddenly allowed to envision new possibilities and enter into new positions.

Balmain has always been aware that we always need to move forward.
It’s part of our heritage.

TIMELESSNESS: THE CONTINUAL FRESHNESS AND MODERNITY OF BALMAIN

It’s always easy to see how our founder’s designs—paired with say, some sleek patent-leather accessories or favorite denims, could be easily adapted to today.
That timelessness is, of course, a key component of true luxury fashion—and a key reason why this house has such an incredible history.

FROM "PB" INITIALS TO THE HOUSE'S MONOGRAM

The "PB" monogram, in its full graphic version with the two interlocking initials, officially became part of the Maison’s signature from 1970 onwards. At the time, it was used on the floor of the Balmain boutique that opened in New York in autumn 1970 on the emblematic Madison Avenue, as well as the historic 44 Rue François I boutique in Paris, which was redecorated in the summer of 1971 with a brown and beige version of the monogram.

The “PB” initials reference the founder and his house, while the motif reflects Pierre Balmain’s fascination with the Renaissance French labyrinths.

Balmain Haute Couture Collection Summer 1971

©Archives Balmain – Rights Reserved

BETWEEN HERITAGE AND MODERNITY

The house’s Creative Director, Olivier Rousteing reinterpreted this labyrinthine pattern for his recently introduced 1945 collection, turning to one of France’s most respected luxury tapissiers to weave the rich and complex two-tone, three-dimensional PB-patterned jacquard that is directly inspired by Pierre Balmain’s mid-century designs. These 1945 offerings help make it very clear that Balmain’s unique 75-year-old heritage is always a key component of Rousteing’s modern designs.

Photo credit in order of appearance:
Brigitte Bardot and Pierre Balmain in 1956 © AGIP/ Bridgeman Images
Balmain sur Seine, July 2020 ©Francesca Beltran
Sketch from Pierre Balmain's Haute Couture Fall-Winter 1952 "Jolie Madame" collection ©Archives Balmain
Katharine Hepburn wearing Balmain in "The Millionairess", 1952 © SIPA
Model Paulette Caillaux wearing Fall-Winter 1952 dress at Balmain © Roger Berson/Roger-Viollet
Praline modeling the Balmain Winter 1950 collection © AGIP- Bridgeman
Praline modeling the Balmain Winter 1950 collection © AGIP- Bridgeman
Sketch from Pierre Balmain's Haute Couture Fall-Winter 1952 "Jolie Madame" collection © Archives Balmain
Pierre Balmain in his office, circa 1960 © Archives Balmain - Droits réservés
Balmain sur Seine, featuring a Balmain Haute Couture Spring-Summer 1989 dress, July 2020 ©Francesca Beltran

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