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Balmain Ivoire name question

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Fashion - Ask Questions Get Answers' started by Katarzyna, Apr 25, 2021.

  1. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Registered Guest


    I have a question about Balmain r-t-w line. Was rtw called Balmain Ivoire when Erik Mortensen was the designer? Can I describe vintage Balmain blazer that has "Balmain Ivoire" label/tag as Pierre Balmain's r-tw? It was on the rtw f/w 1989/90 runway show.

    thank youuu!

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    Last edited: Apr 25, 2021
  2. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    I am not familiar with that label. Erik Mortensen was still producing under the Balmain label - it sounds like it might be a diffusion line? It's still Balmain r-t-w, so you don't have to worry about that - so many designers have diffusion lines....
  3. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Registered Guest

    I'm asking because at the rtw paris fashion week on the wall during the runway show it said "Balmain Ivoire", not "Pierre Balmain". So that's why I'm interested if that's a rtw line. and HC was only called Pierre Balmain. during the Mortensen years. Here's a video from that fashion show:
    starts at 0:50
    I have big doubts whether it's a diffusion line. I think it might me a name for a main rtw line. but I'm looking for some confirmation.
  4. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Registered Guest

  5. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Registered Guest

    yes, but I meant the main rtw line, not cheaper ones
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  6. lkranieri

    lkranieri VFG Member

    From a Dec. 1987 article: "...the (Pierre Balmain) company will focus on the new Balmain Ivoire ready-to-wear line in the United States."

    From a March 1990 article: "Pierre Balmain SA has signed Alistair Blair to design its Balmain Ivoire luxury ready-to-wear collections...The Balmain rtw had previously been designed by the house's couturier Erik Mortensen, who will now devote himself exclusively to the couture."
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  7. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Registered Guest

    From what I found Ivoire was also mentioned when Oscar De La Renta was hired. He was contracted to design Ivoire and Haute Couture. But then it kinda fizzles out. So I guess when he was at Balmain they changed it. I assume the name Ivoire is related to the perfume. Because there is also line Miss Balmain and the perfume Miss Balmain. So I guess 1981? The named the main luxury rtw line Ivoire. So they used it for about 10 years.
    that's what I found so far.

    I've looked and there are really no books on Balmain, except for Pierre Balmain's autobiography from 1964? So this detailed info on names of the lines is hard to find.

    Came to conclusion Ivoire is some sort of Rive Gauche kind of line. Luxury main rtw. But I think they dropped "Ivoire" because it didn't stick on, and people weren't using it anyway as a name.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2021
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  8. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    So it was specifically designed for the American market, like YSL's Encore line, or Dior New York/Dior Holt Renfrew. It sounds like it was created in c. 1987 according to Lynne's research, which makes sense as that would be right after Canadian Eric Fayer purchased the company and was reinventing Balmain from its lacklustre image, eventually it was Fayer who hired Oscar de la Renta in 1992.
  9. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

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  10. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Registered Guest

    doesn't explain the sign on the wall during the paris fashion week.
    I disagree it's a diffusion line. It was a main luxury rtw line. next to HC. Designed and made in France.

    It doesn't only say on the label "Balmain Ivoire", same words were hanging on the wall during the fashion show. which is in the archive described as Pierre Balmain rtw fall/winter 1989/90 designer Erik Mortensen

    When Oscar De La Renta became the designer the line was called Ivoire de Balmain.

    So the blazer is from 1989, the article is from 1987
    and it seems to prove my point:
    "Most firms, including Balmain until recently, contract out the less expensive, ready-to-wear lines to lesser designers, freeing their stars to work on the exclusive, ultra-expensive high-fashion styles. But under designer Mortensen, Balmain is moving into a whole new con-
    cept of fashion—a so-called elite, or upscale, ready-to-wear line."
    "It will carry his elite ready-to-wear line as well as a full range of luxury Balmain products. The new elite outfits will sell at prices running from 25to 30-per-cent more than traditional ready-towear lines, which will still be sold in boutiques and department stores."

    They are describing future Balmain Ivoire, I was off about the date it was created, seems like it was around 1987-1988

    how can it be a diffusion line if it's more expensive by 25-30%? isn't the point of diffusion line to be less expensive than main rtw line?

    I think it actually means that Balmain Ivoire was the opposite of a diffusion line, it was more upscale than rtw. but they were presenting it at rtw fashion weeks.

    the fabric of the blazer itself, is definitely a luxury fabric. it's a mix of lame with velvet spots. and with a specific texture, quite complicated.

    that article actually helped me established how expensive it was, so thank you

    it all makes sense, because the name is "Ivory" which is something expensive

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    Last edited: Apr 30, 2021
  11. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    Yes, I posted the article because it clarifies that Balmain Ivoire line as an attempt at upscale the lacklustre reputation Balmain rtw had. What isn't clear is if Balmain Ivoire was intended for the American market like YSL Encore or Dior New York. It seems to exist alongside rtw which is also designed by Mortensen, until Alistair Blair was brought in to design the Ivoire line in 1990. The Ivoire line seems to disappear after Oscar de la Renta comes on board, so it looks like its only around for about 5 years.
  12. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Registered Guest

    Yes, thank you for that article, again. helped a lot. I found one vague auction house offer without photos :( that says the listing was: Pierre Balmain (Ivoire de Balmain) designed by Oscar de La renta. So I think maybe they put it on the tags/labels for one year only, and then it disappeared
  13. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Registered Guest

    fun fact: Herve Pierre just commented that video from the show on my instagram, and said he worked on that collection too :)
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  14. GemGem

    GemGem Registered Guest

    It's possible that it was a specific collection, for a set period. Jean Paul Gaultier often labelled his collections individually or had them running with the same label for just a year or two. So have many designers, Issey Miyake with plantation for example, though that was not specifically a luxury line. So rather than a continuing line or diffusion line, it could have been more of a luxury time limited collection.
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  15. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Registered Guest

    yes, you're right. I think it was a limited time luxury collection that was meant to fix the reputation of Maison Balmain as a luxury fashion house

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