Not my words! I am starting this post with that!!! But Eric Wilson wrote a fantastic piece in the New York Times about the Decarnin situation and some are whispering that the Times have started the rumour that things were not all they were reported up to be......So have a read and let me know what you think.
I do agree with Grazia though, the style that Balmain created was kinda the same each season. While I lusted over the jackets and thought the skinny jeans were incredible, fashion is about being of the moment. You have to be on the pulse. If your not you become old hat and no one wears your stuff.
This is true of Balmain. Famously touching on the 80's in their design style, the 80's have fallen out of favour having been overdone for many seasons (during which Balmain rode high) we are now all over the 70's and next season is a kitsch look at the 40's. Before that we had the A/W inspired by Mad Men. Not a Balmain look.
It's sad that this has happened, but the brand needs a shake up. I only wish they didn't have to shake down a designer to do it....
Star Designer Leaves Balmain Fashion House
By ERIC WILSON
Balmain, a 66-year-old French fashion house that recently engineered a comeback with skimpy dresses and spray-on jeans that were shockingly priced, announced on Wednesday that its star designer, Christophe Decarnin, had left the company. His departure is the latest in a string of shake-ups that suggest, after the John Galliano debacle at Dior, that luxury fashion houses are becoming less interested in promoting lively personalities than in protecting their own brands.
In the weeks since Mr. Galliano was fired from Dior on March 1 after an anti-Semitic outburst that embarrassed the company, at least four other European labels, including celebrated brands like Azzaro and Cacharel, have dropped their designers, some with little explanation. The sudden moves caught retailers and editors by surprise, in one case prompting a licensee of Cacharel clothing to publicly rebuke the decision by the label’s owner to remove its designer, Cédric Charlier, whose collections were bolstering sales.
Mr. Decarnin’s departure from Balmain had been expected since early March, when he did not attend its runway show during Paris Fashion Week amid reports that he was no longer communicating with the company’s management. While the company has not yet determined its plans, executives there said that a successor would most likely come from the current design team, possibly the stylist Melanie Ward, who quietly worked on the fall collection in Mr. Decarnin’s absence. But it is unlikely they will consider another designer of Mr. Decarnin’s prominence.
Since joining the label in 2005, Mr. Decarnin introduced Balmain to a younger audience that included many French celebrities and influential editors, drawn to his rocker-chic vision of what was once considered a stuffy couture house. But his designs were also criticized for their extravagant prices, including $2,000 for holey T-shirts and $6,000 for some styles of jeans, contributing to tension between the designer and management over strategy.
His ouster was viewed by luxury executives as further evidence that such labels were becoming less tolerant of creative demands, even as the high-end market was beginning to pick up.
“I honestly believe 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,” said Betsy Pearce, a consultant and legal adviser who has represented several top designers and executives.
In the 1990s, hiring a prominent designer became a popular strategy for older labels looking to reinvent themselves, but some recent pairings have been shaky at best, often involving designers with little business experience. Some labels have stumbled badly in their efforts to seem fresh, as when Ungaro hired Lindsay Lohan as an artistic adviser in 2009.
“We are now seeing the fallout of companies not thinking ahead,” Ms. Pearce said.
Mr. Decarnin’s exit from Balmain illustrates the challenge facing companies that have relied on star designers, which is what happens when they leave. The label’s revival was based more on his designs than anything its founder, Pierre Balmain, would have shown, so a successor will have to either follow Mr. Decarnin’s formula or start from scratch. So much of their potential for success relies on the chemistry between the designer and the house that fewer of them seem willing to take a chance.
“That’s the double-edged sword,” said Jeffry M. Aronsson, a consultant who was formerly the chief executive of Donna Karan and Oscar de la Renta. “To really make the brand solidify requires an ego on the part of the designer to push his point of view. It just needs to be the right point of view.”(*Would just like to state again that this is not my work and I am not taking any credit for it - please log on to http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/07/business/07fashion.html?_r=1&ref=fashion to get access to all things Eric Wilson and all things New York Times)