Balmain: singer Cher was the surprise guest of the show

Olivier Rousteing has a knack for making Balmain fashion shows more grandiose than each other. With living legend Cher by her side to close out her Spring/Summer 2023 show, spectacle guaranteed!

  Balmain: singer Cher was there'invitée surprise du show

Every year, Balmain ensures a real festival for Fashion Week by presenting a show of music and fashion that never disappoints the public. But this Wednesday, September 28, the Parisian house has set the bar very high with a legendary guest who combines both flawless style and a gift for music. Who else but the famous Expensive to close this already breathtaking show? At 76, the global star has added the finishing touches to a parade of nearly 100 silhouettes, cast in a Balmain jumpsuit with pointed shoulders , plunging V-neck and marbled details. Full smile, it is with style and confidence that Cher paraded, perched on high heels with platforms. And the American artist wasn't the only surprise we had in store Olivier Rousteing for this parade.

Olivier Rousteing and Lena Mahfouf in the dress

Always on the lookout for innovations, the designer presented one of his latest projects on Wednesday. This is a dress created in collaboration with the water mark Evian . This piece, designed in a fabric made from recycled plastic bottles, is part of a sustainable fashion model with obvious environmental objectives. And it's Lena Mahfouf who had the honor of wearing this creation for the first time at the Balmain festival. White and pleated, the dress made from recycled bottles is inspired by the purity and movements that water can take. Olivier Rousteing gave him a structural look with its high open collar. A creation in tune with the times!

What is the history of the Balmain house?

Balmain was born in 1945 when Pierre Balmain, a former workshop of couturier Lucien Lelong, decided to found his own house. This native of Saint-Jean de Maurienne, where he was born in 1914, was then 31 years old. He has lived in Paris since 1933, the year in which he arrived in the capital to study architecture .

The first Balmain boutique opens its doors just after the Liberation , therefore, rue François I is in the VIII th arrondissement of Paris and the inaugural fashion show took place in October 1945. Pierre Balmain's style? Of the volumes studied for elegant pieces and slightly casual. Its range of colors remains classic: black, of course, with a few touches of green, brown, red and parma. Ahead of his time, the creator launched a first perfume, Elysee 64/83 in 1946, then Green Wind , a 1947 one pretty lady in 1949. The latter was so successful that the couturier paid homage to him by baptizing sa collection of 1952 . Rather focused on sewing, he launched into ready-to-wear with a line Anthology which gives pride of place to the new French style. Modern, it sublimates the body of women highlighting the shoulders, emphasizing the chest and marking the waist. In 1953, Karl Lagerfeld joined the house, as an assistant; he left Balmain in 1962.

What made Balmain so successful?

It wasn't until the late 1950s that Balmain won unparalleled success abroad . The couturier was then solicited by the crowned heads of Europe and elsewhere, such as the queens of Belgium, Denmark or Thailand, but also some of the greatest actresses of the time — Audrey Hepburn, Marlène Dietrich or Sophia Loren, to name but a few.

In 1960, the designer sold the worldwide rights to manufacture and distribute Balmain perfumes to the American cosmetics company Revlon before selling his ready-to-wear house to Léo Gros, a knitwear specialist, in 1977. In 1982 , the luxury brand is re-entering the world of ready-to-wear with the head of women's collections Peggy Huynh Kinh ; the line will be named Ivoire . The same year, Pierre Balmain, iconic designer of the house, died . His right-hand man, Erik Mortensen, takes over the reins of the brand. But, for lack of success, he was replaced in 1990 by Hervé Pierre. A change of creator that is not enough. The real turn took place in 1992, with the arrival of Oscar de la Renta which breathes new life into Balmain. He left his post in 2002. For several years, a series of artistic directors followed one another: Laurent Mercier, Christophe Lebourg, then Christophe Decarnin , formerly of Paco Rabanne . The latter takes the side of revisiting the classics of the house that once made it successful. The Balmain woman is then modern, glamorous and slightly rock.

How did Olivier Rousteing turn the house upside down?

Christophe Decarnin was replaced in 2011 by Olivier Rousteing previously head of Balmain's design studio for women's ready-to-wear collections. Just 25 years old, he will transform the classic image of the house, in particular by chaining collaborations: with H&M or even Nike Lab for which it creates hoodies, sneakers and other sportswear pieces (a partnership that will go even further in 2021, with the creation of a T-shirt for PSG ). In 2016, the house was bought by Mayhoola for Investments LLC, a Qatari investment company that already owned Valentino. Three years later, Balmain made its return (after a sixteen-year absence) to the Haute Couture calendar.

Today, under the leadership of Olivier Rousteing, the house led by Jean-Jacques Guével since 2019 develops men's, women's and children's lines and offers a wide range of flashy pieces: jeans, shoes, T-shirts , of the watches , bags, glasses, robes , blazers, but also perfumes (like Miss Balmain ). The prolific designer celebrated, in 2021, his 10 years at the head of Balmain with a spectacular event, between parade and festival . Long live Balmain!