5 minutes to meet Pierre Balmain

In honor of the French designer on his birthday, we go through his life ...
Reading time 3 minutes


Pierre Alexandre Claudius Balmain was born on May 18, 1914 in the south of France, in one of the towns located between the Alps mountain chain: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne.



His dad, who died when he was seven, was the owner of a drapery business, and his mom had a fashion boutique named Galeries Parisiennes with her sisters.


In 1933, Pierre began his career in architecture at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, while working with designer Robert Piguet.



The French visited Edward Molyneux's sewing studio in 1934, left his studies and worked with the designer for five years. Then, during World War II, he worked with couturier Lucien Lelong, where he met Christian Dior and Hubert de Givenchy.


Pierre Balmain founded his own fashion house, Balmain, at the end of the Second World War. The designer started by creating long skirts with small bell-shaped waists, an illustrious postwar fashion style.

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"The design of dresses is the architecture of movement", Pierre Balmain

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Hir designs, from the very beginning, were boldly feminine: exaggeratedly embroidered fabrics, small waists and bell-shaped skirts, thus creating a fresh and different style from the utilitarian looks that were customary at that time.


Pierre Balmain is one of the designers of the New Look: a movement that revolutionized fashion after the Second World War, focusing on more feminine designs.



Balmain's couture dresses were, at that time, the most famous among European royalty and hollywood stars: Katharine Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot, Vivien Leigh, Marlene Dietrich, Sophia Loren, the Queen of Thailand and others.


The French designer also created perfumes, including Vent Vert in 1947, his first fragrance that became one of the most iconic in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Jolie Madame in 1953 and Ivoire in 1979.



Pierre Balmain continued as creative director of his fashion house until his death in 1982, at age 68 of liver cancer, in Paris. That same year Balmain launched the first ready-to-wear collection.


1914: Pierre Alexandre Claudius Balmain is born in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, France

1933: Studies architecture at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris

1934: Leaves his studies to work in Edward Molyneux's sewing workshop

1939: Works with couturier Lucien Lelong

1945: Starts his own Balmain fashion house

1947: Launches the iconic Vent Vert perfume

1955: Wins the Neiman Marcus Fashion Award

1960 : Revlon cosmetic house buys Balmain's perfume line

1964: Publishes a book of his life named My Years and Seasons

1982: Pierre Balmain dies

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