Pierre Balmain
During the last few days, if you’re a fashion-addict, you’ve certainly heard about the next guest star collaboration with the Scandinavian brand H&M of Olivier Rousteing, the creative director of the Maison Pierre Balmain, who talked about this collaboration as a chance to tell his generation about his style and his ideas as a designer, while always keeping in mind that he’s designing for a historical brand, which was characterized by a true love for opulence, luxury and glamour.

This collaboration wants to bring people into the dreamy world of Balmain, with unique and sophisticated outfits.

With this article I would like to share with you a little piece of the enchanted world of Balmain, through his own words from an interview of 1953, when Balmain was examining the list of dresses chosen by one of his clients.

The interview reveals the great attention that the designer used to pay, while discussing the choices of one his client. The interview is an extract of the daily routine of the atelier, an opportunity for us to take part to the creative process of one the most important Maison de Haute Couture of the last century.

A man

“Monsieur Balmain..Mademoiselle Daly, sale assistant, would like to see you”

Pierre Balmain

Let her in.

Mademoiselle Daly

Thank you. Good morning Monsieur. I’m sorry to bother you. I’d like you to know about the choices of the Viscountess de Carmontelle.

P.B.

Ah, ok!

M.lle D.

I’m delighted. She called me to tell me she’ll be here this morning to choose some models. Last time, before leaving, she gave me a list.

P.B.

Ah ok. I’d like to see her with you. What did she choose last time? For which occasion? Ah for the marriage.

M.lle D.

The dress is for the marriage of her daughter.

P.B.

The marriage will take place at….her Parisian apartment? Or at Marly?

M.lle D.

Yes, at their estate at Marly, in September.

P.B.

In the garden, more or less…

M.lle D.

In the garden, yes, according to the weather. Here’s her list. At first “Jockey Club”.

P.B.

“Jockey Club”. Wonderful. Dress and cape? Both of them?

M.lle D.

Yes, the two of them.

P.B.

This. This will be good, especially because the dress is born to be used for that purpose. Not bad. But she could choose among other models.  Did she see something else?

M.lle D.

She loves specially “Drag”.

P.B.

Ah “Drag” is ideal! It’s been made expressly for the mother of the bride. It’s absolutely wonderful. There’s only a problem with the lace…

M.lle D.

Do you think it’s too much for her?

P.B.

Yes, I’m worried . Because at first sight the dress is very chic, but she’s not so thin as the mannequins. Or the lace is too thick, don’t you think?

M.lle D.

In any case, we have “Bagatelle”.

P.B.

Ah “Bagatelle”..its lace is better and the silhouette well shaped, because the skirt is very simple. It’s not bad. The outfit makes her look so young. In fact she express youthful through her dresses.

M.lle D.

Because she has a young allure!

P.B.

So, after that?

M.lle D.

Now “Caracole”, but with another fabric.

P.B.

Ah, I have for that a gorgeous silk and the result will be amazing. Erik, he’s so kind, gave me the fabric. You know, the new blue-canard which was brought here…

Erik Mortensen, assistant

Yes, right now!

P.B.

So, after that?

M.lle D.

Then, she chose “Lady Bird”.

P.B.

Ah no, no. “Lady Bird” is too simple! I know that they want to organize a simple marriage, at their home. I don’t think…I’m sure!…

M.lle D.

Yes, it’s very simple..

P.B.

Yes, it’s too simple. Ah! Thank you! Look at this!

M.lle D.

Ah it’s so pretty. It’s delightful… She wanted a solid color dress! It’s pretty!

P.B.

And then I don’t know. Do you think she will dare to wear a color like that? Because this is not bad, not at all.

M.lle D.

Why not? I mean, in September, with the sun, it’s pretty! The color is light!

P.B.

Yes, but we are more used to see her in natural colors.  In grays or beige. I don’t know if this blue is a little bit too aggressive for her, what do you think?

M.lle D.

Oh! No I don’t think so…It’s a color that she can wear.

P.B.

It’s a young color and you know that, with her the motto has always been “young”!

M.lle D.

Make it young…

P.B.

So, after that..what we have again?

M.lle D.

So “Casino” with a little jacket.

P.B.

Yes, this one. “Casino” is ideal..the silhouette is so dandy, it’s so pretty…But with a little jacket? How? Embroidered?

M.lle D.

Oh yes, with an embroidery.

P.B.

Yes, but in this case…We can search for an embroidery among those of the new collection. Ah, I have one. Hold on please, bring the embroidery. You know which I love the most, which we haven’t placed yet, which is…

M.lle D.

The gold embroidery?

P.B.

Yes! take a look at this dress, how pretty it is.

M.lle D.

It’s delightful and this embroidery is the one, she would appreciate.

P.B.

Only if…we could create the dress with a shade more…

Not gold like that. The embroidery should be darker, more brown, you know…antique copper, it should be so pretty.

M.lle D.

Do you think that we could lighten it a little bit for her?

P.B.

Bah! For sure she would like to lighten the price, my dear! I’d love if you tell her right now.

M.lle D.

Yes! It’s just a little bit too expensive. But, after all, It’s for the marriage of her daughter.

P.B.

Yes, I know it perfectly…but, in fact, we have to be reasonable. Yes, because the price will be so high. I know her, I know her budget. She would never pay a price like this. This is good! I find it so good, really.

Beside “Drag”, which is too dark and “Lady Bird”, which is too simple. But “Lady Bird” she’s going to have it. I don’t know why she didn’t buy that dress for herself.

M.lle D.

Yes, It will be a good dress, worn at the villa, but not for the marriage of her daughter.

P.B.

Oh! yes, yes

M.lle D.

It’s really too simple.

P.B.

But “Bagatelle” will be good…”Bagatelle” or ” Caracole” with the new fabric, but I think that, finally, she’s going to prefer “Casino”. I’m sure..

M.lle D.

Yes. I think that too. Because she will look so young…

PB.

In any case, you’re going to see her, and I’m going to join you, to express my opinions.

M.lle D.

Yes, I’d like to ask you to join us, seeing her, because….

P.B.

Yes, but you know, I have so many things to do. But I’ll be there, because I have to speak with her.

M.lle D.

Yes, I will call you at last minute. You’re so kind to be there to help her decide.

My Final Thoughts

Dealing with a designer, who worries for you and your choices is an irreplaceable privilege. Dealing with Pierre Balmain would have to be a dream come true. I hope you enjoyed the chance to look back at an ordinary day of a glamourous past.

 

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