PARIS — Balmain, the French fashion and fragrance house whose image has floundered since the departure of couturier Oscar de la Renta in July 2002, on Thursday said it had filed for the French equivalent of Chapter 11 debt protection.

A spokesman said it was unclear if the runway presentation of Balmain’s ready-to-wear and couture collections would be affected. “It’s not the end of Balmain,” he insisted. “Clothes will continue to be produced.”

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