In more evidence that Paris is burning out, WWD reports that Christophe Decarnin is in fact departing Balmain. This would finally put a period to the storm of speculation following his absence from the house’s fall collection, including our report last month of a mental breakdown. The timing of the resulting hospitalization, January, coincided with stylist Emmanuelle Alt’s own exit to focus on her new job as editor-in-chief of French Vogue. In the absence of both Decarnin and Alt, it appears the collection was largely designed by Alt’s replacement, Melanie Ward, who was also tasked with discussing inspiration with reporters after the show.
According to today’s WWD, “Balmain is ending its five-year collaboration with Christophe Decarnin, the designer who heated up the French brand to the boiling point, but was missing in action during Paris Fashion Week last month.”
Our sources have depicted a difficult work environment for Decarnin, with company execs continually pressing for ever more sales of the exorbitantly priced wares. T-shirts, for example, can go for well over a thousand dollars while prices for more elaborate pieces hover at couture levels. The WWD story goes on to describe a rift between the designer and Balmain’s CEO Alain Hivelin over a lower-priced line and the overall direction of the house, which may have been what ultimately drove the designer to a maison de repos with depression. We would like to wish the very best to Christophe on his road to recovery and we look forward to seeing his next incarnation.