With a house that feels so incredibly modern, it’s hard to imagine it enjoys a history that dates back to 1945. It was that year that Pierre Balmain established the French couture label, finding immediate favor with women who were ready to replace their post-war wardrobe with something far more feminine. Coined “Jolie Madame,” Balmain’s style was characterized by full skirts, nipped waists and a much-welcomed opulence. Unsurprisingly, the house’s rich textures and ladylike cuts drew royalty (of both the European and Hollywood variety) quite easily and Balmain was soon dressing starlets from Ava Gardner to Sophia Loren.


Following Balmain’s death in 1982, the house was guided by a series of designers that included Oscar de la Renta. In 2011 Olivier Rousteing was appointed Creative Director and has since infused Balmain’s signature sophistication with a sense of cool confidence. Known quite early for mini dresses made for party girls with great legs, he has since varied his offering with pieces that speak to the house’s talent in tailoring and by establishing his signature cropped jacket as a must-have. Always incredibly conscious of how women of his generation are dressing, he designs each collection with the modern woman in mind.