Christophe Decarnin out at Balmain

Christophe Decarnin is no longer creative director for the French House of Balmain. The label announced the news in a press release. Decarnin was absent from the label's latest F/W show and may not have been around at all as early as the beginning of this year.

Balmain was founded by Pierre Balmain following WWI. Pierre created clothing for starlets of the day like Ava Gardner and Brigitte Bardot. After Pierre's death, the reigns passed to Erik Mortensen and Oscar de la Renta led the company fro 1993-2001.

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. 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's replacement is likely to be someone from within the house, possibly stylist and Helmut Lang alum Melanie Ward, who came on three weeks before the F/W 2011-12 show. Ward replaced Emmanuelle Alt, who had to give up her consulting and styling gig to take over French Vogue.