Fall 2008 Balmain by Christophe Decarnin Runway Zebra & Leopard Print Dress w Crystal Bolt

The Balmain transformation from what it was originally to what it is today began when they hired Christophe Decarnin. He was the designer that gave it its edgy feel that has continued to the present day under Olivier Rousteing, the label's current Creative Director. When the Fall 2008 collection showed Vogue's Nicole Phelps said in part: 'And as promised, Spring's haute hippie feathers, fringe, and tie-dye were replaced by an all-Billy Idol soundtrack and enough leopard-print chain mail, python-pattern denim, and crystal-embroidered lightning bolts to make you wonder if there was anything at all left on the shelves at Trash and Vaudeville. To be fair, Decarnin's creations are much finer than the East Village emporium's, but they appeal to a similar kind of chick, one with a killer body and an active nightlife.' The twin of this dress closed the show and it is perhaps one of the most memorable and significant pieces that Decarnin designed for the label. It was produced in very limited quantities and instantly sold out world wide despite a very hefty retail price. 

The dress is incredible and the skirts are all still their original lengths. I note that as I have only ever seen one other of these for sale and it had its skirts shortened at some point. The length is integral to the design in many ways. The skirt panels are incredibly long and light in weight so that when you move they float and billow around you as you can see in the runway footage. Above the skirts it is extremely fitted long curving bodice that is constructed to highlight your every curve. On the interior of the bodice there is a full boned corset with built in cups. The corset is cut to run from the bust to the top of the hips so that you are molded and shaped into place. On the outside the silk is hand draped and placed into position to form soft gathers that run around you. A huge zig zag bolt runs down the front. It is densely covered in crystals and it separates the prints on either side of you. The silk on one side is zebra and the silk used for this is a light scarf weight silk. The other side is finished in a black and white leopard print. On that side the silk is more of a silk faille and slightly heavier in weight then the zebra printed silk is. This change in weights of the silk is genius because it means that the way the silk moves in the skirts changes and you get more movement. The crystal covered panel that divides the two printed sides curves over just one shoulder and then runs down the front in the dramatic zig zag that you see. At the back it extends just past the shoulder and curves to the side. To close the dress Decarnin  has used one of the signature chunky Balmain zippers to divide the two prints. The zipper is set on a curve that follows the curve of your body and it becomes an incredible design detail in itself. The dress is fitted to the top of the hips and then the skirts flare out into long trains of fabric. The predominant part of the skirt is made from the leopard print and this is set on a curve at the hem that extends out to the side and to the back. There is a smaller panel at the front that is made out of the zebra print silk that also extends out and back. Where the two fabrics meet at the front side, they are only attached at the to and not together. This means that an opening is created that goes right up to the top of the thigh. When you move your entire legs shows. We have included the runway footage for reference so that you can see just how incredible it is when it is on and you walk. Excellent condition with a minor note below.

The inner bodice has a fully built in boned corset made from a nude colored lingerie stretch corseting nylon fabric that has built in cups and is finished by hand. The fabric is hand draped over this and the crystals and lightening bolt have been attached by hand. It closes with a curved set zipper that allows the form fitting construction of the dress. Tagged a 40. There are a couple of small repairs along the hem of the trained skirts. Some tiny pulls in the silk of the bodice. Please see the photos after the label shot. Hand finished throughout. The inner foundation garment does have some stretch. You might be able to squeeze out a bit more room when on a real body.

Bust: 15-17" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 11.5-12.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: 16.5-17.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Bodice: 33" from top of shoulder to bottom of inner foundation garment
Skirt: 28.5" from bottom of inner foundation garment to shortest hem, 53" to the longest hem

Modern Sizing Equivalent: XS-MED

Item# DD3115

Reference Photos: F/W 2008 Balmain Runway, Final Look.

This garment has been professionally cleaned, pressed and is odor free. Thoroughly checked over before shipping, it will be ready to wear upon arrival.

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