The Balmain transformation definitely began while under the tutelage of Christophe Decarnin. He was the designer to bring 'more hard rock and punk' to the label, which has continued to the present day under Olivier Rousteing. The review from Vogue that year stated: 'Was it just coincidence that Christophe Decarnin showed his Balmain collection in the same room—the swimming pool at the Ritz—that Gianni Versace used for his couture spectaculars? There was certainly an almost Gianni-like gaggle of fans jostling outside, and a heated buzz of anticipation in the house for the man whose frank embrace of rock-chick bling, rounded "tennis ball"-shouldered jackets, and elaborate jeans have shot him to the position of No. 1 most copied designer in the space of two seasons. The choice of venue only added to the sense of expectation heaped on Decarnin's performance as fashion's latest appointed savior of good-time, high-sparkle, downright sexy dressing.... The cult peaked-shoulder Balmain jacket was reiterated in force: same signature shape, now manifested as a leather biker as well as a tuxedo jacket, and often paired with new drapey harem pants or skinny jean-cut black trousers. Every look was thrust into deep-cuffed suede boots with a stack of silver buckles running up the side. What is interesting is that just this past season this high 'Pagoda' shoulder was shown in the latest Balmain and Balenciaga runways for the Spring 2021 season. None of them hit the same mark as this does with its additional embellishments. I love this one and it is a very collectible piece of future vintage and is certainly important for the person archiving important pieces now.
The jacket is made out of a black cotton velvet and this fabric choice gives it a rich edgy feel while allowing the exact shape intended to be kept. It has an almost sculptural feel to it. The shoulders are extremely strong and set in high peaks shaped by extensive padding sculpted underneath. The sleeves fall from there and as you get closer to the piece you see how the fabric has been pieced together and seamed using proper couture techniques so that they fall perfectly. The bodice of the jacket is nipped in at the waist to give contrast to the amazing shoulders. This is all done by vertical seaming and shaping. Set inside the front edge is a lingerie inspired panel that hooks to close like a corset. This is a stunning detail that is hidden like a little secret from all but the wearer when the jacket is closed. Around the neck and running down the front is a raw edged silk tulle detailing that has a wide band of glass rhinestones, metal studs and silver chain set the full length of the jacket. Where it reaches the lower hem of the jacket it extends past another 11 inches to end in a raw edged tulle ribbon and chains. It is an incredible piece and you can see on the runway shots and video just how incredible it moves and sits on the body. It appears to have been worn very little if at all. Excellent condition
Fully lined in a black textured fabric and closes down the front with metal hook & eye as shown. It is tagged a modern Balmain 40. It appears to have never been worn or worn very little. Padded and sculpted shoulders
Shoulders: inset and approx 15" inside
Bust: to 17" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 15" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: 17" flat across from side seam to side seam
Length: 22" from neck to hem and the embellishments extend down past that 11"
Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-MED
Reference Photo: Sasha Pivovarova for Fall 2009 Balmain Runway, Look 17.