THE PHANTOM COLLECTION

Byline:

Those people who thought it was hard to get into Galliano should try getting into Pierre Balmain. Yes, Pierre Balmain. Even the owner--Eric Fayer--isn't sure there is a collection to be seen.
"Why don't you ask Mr. Oscar," Fayer said on the telephone when a reporter asked if there was a collection available to be seen. So we did. Mr. Oscar happens to be in New York, however. "Let me call the house and I'll call you right back," was his reply.
All this confusion only fueled rumors that something is up--or down--at Balmain. There have been published reports that Oscar has signed a new contract, but Fayer was unable to confirm that.
"It is with much regret that I cannot give you any explanation," he said cryptically. "Maybe next week I'll say something." Even Oscar's lawyer, Alain Coblence, was unsure of de la Renta's status at the house. "I've heard those reports, but I've been away," said Coblence right after the Yves Saint Laurent collection. (YSL is one of his key clients.)
Then, suddenly, Oscar called back. "Of course you can go and see it. It's a small collection like last time. Call Chantal Vizioz [Balmain's spokeswoman]." We did. She never called back. As for Oscar's new contract, he said it doesn't exist. "My contract expires in November. Mr. Fayer and I haven't come to a decision yet."

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