Fashion design house founded by Pierre Balmain, who had previously worked under Molyneux and Lucien Lelong. His own house opened in Paris in 1945; the perfume business was launched the following year. According to Balmain, "As regards elegance, perfume is more important than accessories, jewels, and shoes".1 Balmain passed away in 1982.
After Balmain's death, the house of Balmain continued under the creative direction of Erik Mortensen, Balmain's assistant. Oscar de la Renta was the designer from 1993 through 2002. Balmain filed for bankruptcy protection in 2004, and is currently attempting a comeback under Creative Director Olivier Rousteing, who replaced Christophe Decarnin in 2011.
The early fragrances were created in the 1940s and 1950s by perfumer Germaine Cellier (Vent Vert, 1947; Jolie Madame, 1953; Monsieur Balmain, 1964); other well-known fragrances include Miss Balmain (1967), Ivoire (1979), Ébène (1983), Eau d'Ivoire (2000), Balmya (2002).
The fragrance license will pass from Empire of Scents to Inter Parfums in January 2012; the Inter Parfums license was terminated in 2017.
Recent fragrances from Balmain
Recent releases include Eau d'Amazonie (2005), La Mome (2007), Ambre Gris (2008), Carbone de Balmain (2010), Ivoire de Balmain (new version, 2012), Eau d'Ivoire (new version, 2013), Extatic (2014), Extatic Intense Gold (2014), Balmain Homme (2015), Balmain H&M (2015), Extatic Gold Musk (2016), Extatic Tiger Orchid (2016).
Where to buy
Balmain fragrances can be found at selected department stores, although the line is no longer widely distributed in the US. Many of the online fragrance discounters also carry Balmain.
See all articles on Now Smell This tagged Balmain.
Read Ripped jeans that will cost you £1,000 (on Christophe Decarnin) at The Guardian.
1. Elisabeth Barille, The Book of Perfume, p. 89.