Balmain has issued a statement confirming that it has parted ways with creative director Christophe Decarnin. “Since 1945, the house of Pierre Balmain has been one of the leading French and international luxury brands,” says CEO Alain Hivelin in the brief statement. “Christophe Decarnin’s work with the house’s design team contributed to the success that the brand has enjoyed in recent years.”
Decarnin joined Balmain in 2005. His sexy rocker jackets, ripped t-shirts, jeans and thigh high mini dresses turned Balmain into one of the world’s hottest labels. But speculation about Decarnin has swirled since the notoriously shy designer failed to appear for a bow after his fall-winter 2011-12 ready-to-wear show last month. It was rumored he’d had a nervous breakdown and was in a mental hospital, but a spokesman for the house dismissed the speculation, saying Decarnin missed the show because he was resting on doctor’s orders.
As Cathy Horyn of the New York Times wrote this morning on her blog, attention now turns to who will replace Decarnin. Stylist and designer Melanie Ward, who is said to have done much of the work for the Fall 2011 collection, appears to be the front-runner, but some fashion insiders aren’t ruling out a career change for former Paris Vogue Editor Carine Roitfeld.