Christophe Decarnin, the creative director of House of Balmain, is from Le Touquet, a seaside resort in northern France in which it remains attached. A book of photographs by Richard Avedon which he discovered in adolescence, was what convinced him to get into fashion. A graduate of Esmod in Paris, he was artistic director of ready-to-wear Paco Rabanne, for seven years and consultant for various French brands.
He was appointed as the creative director of Balmain in 2005. For a label that was once known for its ultra-elegant evening attires with draping and pleating focus, Decarnin’s appointment took it toward tough-chic, thigh-grazing, and body-skimming looks. These looks created a sensibility that embraces quintessential trend-setting French party-girl.
Owner of the House of Balmain, Alain Hivelin claims that sales have doubled since Decarnin’s appointment, projecting 2009 to amass $28 million in revenue, where the clothes are notoriously expensive—a sparkly tee is $3,000, dresses are $12,000 to $22,000, and jackets are $5,000.