Balmain Taps Olivier Rousteing to Replace Christophe Decarnin

Scratch one off the seemingly endless list of labels seeking designers. Balmain has announced it’s promoting Olivier Rousteing, head of womenswear at Balmain since 2009, to replace Christophe Decarnin, who vacated the label due to a mental breakdown. This marks another instance of a brand choosing to hire from within, which may be an emerging trend in the coming years. With the success of Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen (the full extent of which we’ll witness at the Met Ball next week), it seems that CEOs have realized that design directors may have a better understanding of where to take a house than a wunderkind fresh out of Central St Martins. Even Hannah MacGibbon has been given another season to figure out what makes Chloé tick, despite reports that she was on her way out.

While it’s nice to see a more loyalty in fashion, we’ll have to wait until Rousteing’s spring 2012 collection to know the direction he’ll take the brand. Before Decarnin’s sudden departure, the label was already losing momentum, as overpriced distressed T-shirts and the aura of disco glamour had become increasingly passé. Maybe Rousteing has an ace up his sleeve, but even so, something tells us the moment for sold-out $20,000 beaded cocktail numbers may be over.

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