THE BALMAIN HOUSE
Today’s Balmain melds the rich legacy of a historic Parisian couture house with Pierre Balmain’s singular optimism and the modern and inclusive vision of Olivier Rousteing, who has been the house’s Creative Director for over a decade.
BALMAIN, A SINGULAR 75-YEAR HISTORY
Pierre Balmain was only 30 years old in August 1944, when Paris was liberated. And once freedom arrived, Balmain decided it was time to find his own couture house, quickly setting up his atelier inside a recently vacated space on 44 Rue de François Premier—one which had been previously requisitioned by the Nazis during the long occupation. The designer’s memoirs make clear that he felt he simply could not wait any longer to make a change—and he definitely wasn’t the only Parisian looking for new beginnings at that time. All around him, one could spy brave green shoots of the beginning of a cultural rebirth. France was entering into what would later be called its année zero — Year Zero. After so much had been destroyed, suddenly so much seemed ready to start anew. Startling and exceptional visions in music, literature, theatre and cinema were being pushed forward by the remarkable young talents of that time, creating an explosion of creativity that began in Paris immediately after the war and continued for decades afterwards.
But while liberated Paris may have been hungry for changes, original ideas and a better future—Paris was also, quite literally, just plain hungry. It was a very difficult time for many Parisians—an era of rationing, shortages, instability and anxiety. In spite of that—just like the other bold talents of liberated France—Pierre Balmain was filled with an optimistic confidence in better days ahead. In October 1945, Balmain’s drive, audaciousness and distinctive outlook resulted in his first collection putting forward an extraordinarily fresh and feminine vision—one that was hailed as a “New French Style” by Alice B Toklas. His unique and immediately popular vision ensured that Pierre Balmain would be among the handful of daring designers responsible for France’s historic post-war fashion renaissance—helping to make very clear to all that Paris remained fashion’s capital.
Ever since he first began overseeing the house’s collections in 2011, at the young age of 25, Olivier Rousteing has been determined to design clothes that reflect the way that his generation wishes to dress today. The result is a truly unique and recognizable silhouette, style and attitude that build upon the impressive craftsmanship that the house’s ateliers are celebrated for, as well as the legacy of founder Pierre Balmain, who—just like Olivier Rousteing—is recognized for having never been afraid of going against well-established conventions.
With a long history of seeking inspiration in the compelling art, ground-breaking music and powerful voices of the day, Balmain is also an acknowledged leader in establishing innovative and exciting pathways to reach out directly to its followers.
Balmain’s surprising—and often unorthodox—marketing, communication and strategic choices manifest the desire of both Olivier Rousteing and the entire house to constantly push to democratize and modernize the all-too-often closed-off fashion world, while making very clear that Balmain will never shy away from pushing each and every envelope.
Since 2016, Balmain has been controlled by Mayhoola For Investments LLC. This has allowed for rapid growth and a host of new possibilities for the historic house of Balmain.
Balmain’s unique global vision of style is expressed each year in a series of new offerings and creations, including the house’s men’s, women’s and children’s collections, eyewear, leather accessories and luggage.
RACHID MOHAMED RACHID
Rachid Mohamed Rachid is a prominent Egyptian born entrepreneur and investor and is currently the Chairman of Balmain. He is also the founder and chairman of Alsara Investment Group and its subsidiary, Bidayat. Alsara is an international investment group focused on the luxury and wellness industry and Bidayat is a company focused on investing and nurturing young brands in jewelry, fashion and accessories and take them globally. He is also the chairman of Valentino, a leading international luxury fashion company. Rachid is also on the supervisory board of Lipton Teas and Infusions.
Rachid also held a cabinet position in Egypt as Minister of Trade and Industry being the first international businessman in recent history to hold such a position. He played a leading role in liberalizing the economy by implementation reforms to boost competition and strengthen the various industrial sectors which resulted in an unprecedented flow of foreign direct investment. During his tenure annual industrial growth surpassed 20% and the value of exports tripled in real terms.
Prior to his cabinet position Rachid was the founder and chairman of a JV with Unilever in Egypt and was named as President of Unilever MENA and Turkey.
Rachid is the holder of “Cavaliere di Gran Groce, Ordine al Merito della Republicca Italiana” presented to him by the president of the Italian Republic.