French couturier Pierre Balman opened a personalized atelier in 1945. In post-war Paris, his elegant clothing looked shockingly luxurious, providing the designer with his most daring and bohemian clientele. The peak of the brand’s fame came in the 1950s and 60s, but with the appointment in 2011 to the place of creative director Olivier Rousteing, Balmain began a new life.
In modern men’s collections, Oliver cultivates Balmain’s love for sophisticated and careful finishes: even casual denim, fitted shoulder blazers, and elongated vests are hand-embroidered with silk cords, sequins, and Swarovski crystals. In addition to the decorativeness of the founder, Rousteing inherits the bright and daring disco style of the 1980s. The brand’s evening line is also sustained in the aesthetics of this era, which includes colorful statement tuxedos, smart leather biker jackets, velvet suits with baroque prints, and metallic embroidery.
Balmain’s recognizable 2010s silhouettes are firmly entrenched in pop culture: the brand’s latex pants and bleached jeans feature Kanye West and Kid Cudi in their tracks, and evening suits regularly appear on the Met Gala and Oscar’s red carpets.