Melanie Ward

Balmain

Olivier Rousteing Likely Christophe Decarnin's Replacement at Balmain

>> After reports that Balmain would go with an internal candidate to replace Christophe Decarnin, now comes news that Olivier Rousteing, a key deputy of Decarnin's — not Melanie Ward, as previously suggested — is likely the designer of choice.

>> After reports that Balmain would go with an internal candidate to replace Christophe Decarnin, now comes news that Olivier Rousteing, a key deputy of Decarnin's — not Melanie Ward, as previously suggested — is likely the designer of choice. The contract is in the process, and Rousteing's appointment is expected to be announced as early as next week. Rousteing, "a young and promising creative dynamo," according to WWD's sources, has worked at Balmain since 2009 and was at Roberto Cavalli in Milan for almost six years before that. And as WWD points out, "promoting a number two has become a popular succession strategy in fashion in recent years as the importance of star designers has waned" — take Hannah MacGibbon at Chloe or Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli at Valentino, for example. [WWD]

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Balmain

Christophe Decarnin Out at Balmain, and Not Just Because of His Show Absence

>> Christophe Decarnin, who joined Balmain as a designer in 2005 and was named creative director of women's ready-to-wear in November 2007, has left the brand, effective immediately.

>> Christophe Decarnin, who joined Balmain as a designer in 2005 and was named creative director of women's ready-to-wear in November 2007, has left the brand, effective immediately. A successor — an internal candidate is reportedly the frontrunner — is expected to be named next week.

Stylist Melanie Ward, who helped pull together the Fall 2011 collection under Decarnin's directives starting three weeks before the show, is Cathy Horyn's suggestion for successor. She has the experience: she was creative director of Helmut Lang for 13 years, when the namesake designer was still at that label.

Decarnin's exit is not a surprise, given his absence from the Fall 2011 show, due to doctor's orders after seeking treatment for depression. However, WWD reports that sources close to the designer say the state of Decarnin's mental health was overblown. A Balmain rep corroborates that the designer's depression wasn't the cause of his exit, saying this morning that Decarnin's absence from the show "is not the reason, but everything is related" and instead citing "work differences . . . that I cannot comment on."

Tensions between Decarnin and Balmain chairman and CEO Alain Hivelin had reached a breaking point by the time of the show, WWD reports, with each man holding widely divergent views of company strategy and direction. Hivelin cited a desire to keep a tight rein on distribution of the top line, which has had sales growth in excess of 50 percent in recent years, but was also quietly testing future avenues of growth for the brand — including a less-expensive line, Balmain Blue, that reportedly irked Decarnin and was never brought to market.

With Decarnin gone, it looks like that line may be brought back in some form: Ittierre, which produces diffusion collections like C’N’C Costume National and Just Cavalli (as well as Galliano), has reportedly secured a license with Balmain, although both companies have remained mum on the subject.

Balmain

It's Unclear When Christophe Decarnin Will Return to Work at Balmain

>> A few more details on Christophe Decarnin's absence from Balmain yesterday, which was, according to a Balmain spokesperson, due to doctor's orders; Decarnin has reportedly been under treatment for depression.

>> A few more details on Christophe Decarnin's absence from Balmain yesterday, which was, according to a Balmain spokesperson, due to doctor's orders; Decarnin has reportedly been under treatment for depression. A spokesperson for the label has now confirmed that Decarnin's ailment is “not anything physical,” and the rumors of a mental breakdown from drugs or the mental hospital are “completely untrue.”

As for Melanie Ward, Balmain's new stylist, designing the Fall 2011 collection without Decarnin's input, the spokesperson says: "This collection was done under [Decarnin's] directives, but in the last weeks, he hasn’t been involved 100 percent — or as much as he would like . . . He has been exhausted because this season was particularly demanding and complicated."

This season's collection was executed by the house's "loyal" design team, the spokesperson added, who will continue to carry out the work until Decarnin, who has been with the brand since 2005, has recovered and resumed work at an unknown time.

Balmain

Christophe Decarnin Has Reportedly Been in a Mental Hospital Since January

>> Christophe Decarnin was a no-show at Balmain today, explained a label spokesman, because: "He's tired after working on the collection.


>> Christophe Decarnin
was a no-show at Balmain today, explained a label spokesman, because: "He's tired after working on the collection. He's not here. He's resting." However, Hint reports that Decarnin has been in a "mental hospital" since January, according to a source, because of a nervous breakdown. He apparently disappeared one day in mid-January — a "total nightmare" — and it was then announced that he would not be coming back.

Decarnin reportedly wasn't involved in the Fall 2011 collection at all, and Melanie Ward, who was previously confirmed to be collaborating with Decarnin on the collection, actually designed it all with Balmain's in-house team. Ward definitely has design experience — among other stints, she spent 13 years as creative director of Helmut Lang, when the designer was still at his namesake label.

Balmain

Christophe Decarnin Was a No-Show at Balmain; Carine Roitfeld Attends Balenciaga

>> Christophe Decarnin showed a new, more "subdued" Balmain collection, according to Cathy Horyn, today for Fall 2011 — which could be in part because Emmanuelle Alt is no longer the show's stylist and Melanie Ward took her place this season.


>> Christophe Decarnin
showed a new, more "subdued" Balmain collection, according to Cathy Horyn, today for Fall 2011 — which could be in part because Emmanuelle Alt is no longer the show's stylist and Melanie Ward took her place this season. But more curious: Decarnin skipped his final bow and was a no-show backstage. "He's tired after working on the collection. He's not here. He's resting," said a Balmain spokesman. And it seems that Nicolas Ghesquiere and Carine Roitfeld have officially made up — she attended the show today, Tommy Ton tweets: "Just spotted Carine leaving Balenciaga slyly avoiding the paps." [@MeenalMistry, @HilaryAlexander@JakandJilBlog]

jason wu

CFDA Swarovski Nominees Pair with Editors and Stylist for Short Films

>> All 21 designers nominated for the 2009 CFDA Awards have been photographed by Craig McDean for the CFDA Journal, but the nine who are Swarovski emerging designer nominees will also be featured in individual short films, along with an editor or stylist of their choice, to be shown at the June 15 ceremony.

>> All 21 designers nominated for the 2009 CFDA Awards have been photographed by Craig McDean for the CFDA Journal, but the nine who are Swarovski emerging designer nominees will also be featured in individual short films, along with an editor or stylist of their choice, to be shown at the June 15 ceremony.

The shorts, directed by Michael Palmieri and still photographed by Jennifer Livingston, feature designers Thakoon Panichgul, Jason Wu (who partnered with T fashion director Anne Christensen, left), Alexander Wang, Justin Giunta (who picked Harper's Bazaar accessories director Ana Maria Pimentel), Alejandro Ingelmo, Albertus Swanepoel, Patrick Ervell (who shot with V fashion editor Jay Massacret), Tim Hamilton and Robert Geller.  The films also feature editors Anne Slowey, Brian Coats, Brian Molloy, Kate Lanphear, Camilla Nickerson and Melanie Ward.