Paris-native Christophe Lebourg took over the helm of Balmain as Artistic Director in August 2003 and presented his first collection for the house during the Spring 2004 Paris season.
The American public remembers him best from 1986 to 1989, when he was the Artistic Director of Cacharel, responsible for both the men and women’s collections.
But even before that, Christophe Lebourg had amassed years of experience in fashion design. A graduate of the École de la Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture de Paris and the Paris American School, Christophe Lebourg worked under France Andrévie, Claude Montana and Yohji Yamamoto.
In 1982, after gaining knowledge from these design masters, the native Frenchman moved on to be Artistic Director for Kashiyama, GFT, Mix & Match and Lois Jeans (1983).
He launched his own label in 1984, but continued to work for other fashion houses such as Callaghan (1985), Cacharel (1986 – 1989), Leonard (1990-1991) and Angelo Tarlazzi (1990-1991).
Taking a break in 1992 to concentrate on his own label, he closed his eponymous line and launched the ‘Christophe Lebourg for Joseph’ line in 1993.
Two years later, he found himself Artistic Director for Rodier (1995 – 1998) and Image Director for Agnes B (2000-2001).
Coming in at Balmain with over two decades of experience under his belt, Christophe Lebourg’s responsibility is awesome – revive the name of the venerable fashion house, which somehow had lost some of its luster after Oscar De La Renta left in 2001.
His first two collections for Balmain, though not necessarily stellar, are on the right track – pleasing the existing clients and attracting new fans.
The House of Balmain has a venerable history, with Pierre Balmain, who was trained as an architect bringing architectural elements to life into human forms.
Christophe Lebourg mining the archives, and updating the looks for a whole new generation to enjoy is a sure path to success.