After a breakdown leading to the designer's absence from this year's fall 2011 show, Christophe Decarnin has left his post as head designer at Balmain. Cathy Horyn from The New York Times reports that Decarnin may have been absent from the company as early as the beginning of the year, and that his successor will most likely come from within the label's current design team.
She continues: "Balmain’s success in the Decarnin years was based on a relatively simple formula of impeccably tailored jackets, tough pants, T-shirts and sexy beaded dresses — all for staggering sums — and Mr. Decarnin may have felt stuck in recent months about his direction. Designers are indeed under a lot of pressure, some of it self-imposed, to create relevant collections. Shy and introverted, with a label that had its admirers and critics, Mr. Decarnin may have been more vulnerable than others to that pressure."
Decarnin was rumored to be in a mental hospital at the time of the Balmain show. He joined the fashion label in 2005, and is the fourth or fifth ready-to-wear designer for the brand in the past 15 years.
Horyn speculates that his replacement could be "stylist Melanie Ward, who helped bring together the fall 2011 Balmain collection, stepping in about three weeks before the March show. Ms. Ward is well known in the fashion industry for her long collaboration with Helmut Lang."