Today, the high-flying Paris house will parade a Las Vegas-inspired collection here by its new designer, Olivier Rousteing — and it will close out 2011 with a string of new boutiques dotted across Asia, including six in China.
In a rare interview, Balmain chief executive officer Alain Hivelin discussed the latest developments for the privately held, debt-free company, which continues to post revenue growth in excess of 50 percent annually, something it’s done for the past five years.
In Tokyo last week for the opening of a boutique in Ginza in partnership with Bluebell Japan Ltd., Hivelin flicked through an iPad to show off images of other recently opened Asian units, including boutiques in Shanghai’s IFC, Beijing’s Sanlitun Village and at the Plaza 66 in Jinan.
He estimates that China will account for 6 to 8 percent of Balmain revenues in the next year, saying “the first sales figures are encouraging.”
While still wholesale driven, Balmain should end 2011 with 11 freestanding stores worldwide and six shops-in-shop. A Manhattan flagship ranks among future priorities, Hivelin noted.
The retail developments come in tandem with new deals for eyewear with L’Amy Group starting this spring and fragrances with Inter Parfums SA effective Jan. 1.
Balmain also closed the order books on the first season for its Pierre Balmain second line under license with Italy’s Ittierre SpA. First deliveries are expected in November to some 700 doors, ahead of sales targets, Hivelin said.
The fashion house underwent a jolt last March when its designer since 2005, Christophe Decarnin — who catapulted its notoriety with thigh-skimming dresses, strong-shouldered jackets and astronomically expensive destroyed T-shirts — was absent from its runway show under doctor’s orders.
Hivelin expressed regret over Decarnin’s departure due to health problems. “We had a fantastic working relationship. He’s a very professional man. I respect him. I like him,” Hivelin said. “In our industry, the pressure is very heavy, because you have to deliver every season…something that corresponds to the expectations of our customers, of the media, of everyone.”
That said, Hivelin lauded Rousteing and 13 other young international talents in the house’s design studios. He noted that orders for the pre-collection under Rousteing’s design purview jumped 25 percent.
“Olivier is fresh, he’s young, full of talent, very hardworking,” the executive enthused. “He has so much potential.”
A key deputy of Decarnin at Balmain since 2009, Rousteing, 26, previously worked for Roberto Cavalli for five years.
During a preview, Rousteing said the brand would continue down its rock ’n’ roll path with audacious, body-conscious designs and elaborate embroideries that can drive retail prices into the five figures. But he said he would leave behind the hole-ridden T-shirts and other grunge aspects, ramping up the “sophistication and couture feeling.”
Rousteing said he would not work with a stylist, but noted that Emmanuelle Alt, the editor in chief of French Vogue, who had collaborated with Decarnin, remains an inspirational muse.
“She’s relaxed and at the same time, superglamorous,” he enthused.
Supermodel @helenachristensen teamed up with longtime friend and designer @camillastaerk on a joint @paredeyewear collaboration. The lineup features three styles and 11 offerings, all of which embody a vintage feel. Get all the details on how they celebrated the collab on WWD.com. #wwdaccessories #wwdeye (📷: @slovekinpics)
“It’s a hard industry to keep motivated, as well, so finding different subjects and people is what makes it worth it – when you’re like, oh, I’ve met great people, I feel like I’ve done something good, and I feel proud of having done this,” said French actress Stacy Martin on being grateful for the variety of roles she’s take on. Read @ktauer’s full interview with Martin on her her latest film “Godard Mon Amour.” #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
After showing in front of the Eiffel Tower for his last two women’s ready-to-wear collection, it looks like @anthonyvaccarello may be heading to the Big Apple. Sources say the designer will stage his next @ysl show in NYC on June 6. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
EXCLUSIVE: Two and half months after John Targon, cofounder and codesigner of Baja East, was hired as creative director of the contemporary division at Marc Jacobs, he has left the company, WWD has learned. Marc Jacobs International, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, confirmed Targon’s departure in a statement: “John Targon is a talented designer and we appreciate the work he has done here. Ultimately working together did not make sense for the brand and we wish him the best.” Read the story by @jessiredale, link in bio. #wwdnews
@theluxurycollection is officially launching a collection, tapping Sofia Sanchez de Betak for the capsule. Over 30 styles will be featured in the Chufy x The Luxury Collection, debuting next month at Bergdorf Goodman, The Webster, FiveStory and more. De Betak, known as “@chufy,” drew inspiration for the collection from her trips to Japan in the past year #wwdfashion
@lhd, founder and CEO of @thewebster, has teamed up with @lebonmarcherivegauche for the European launch of her ready-to-wear line, LHD. The launch will come with an exclusive pop-up opening today that’s set to run through May 20. Located on the second floor, it carries her debut Miami-themed resort collection, launched in November as see-now-buy-now. #wwdfashion