Partner Erik Mortensen

Queer Places:
École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, 14 Rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris, Francia
Maison Balmain, 44 Rue François 1er, 75008 Paris, France

Pierre Alexandre Claudius Balmain (b. Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, Savoie, 18 May 1914 – Paris, France, 29 June 1982) was a French fashion designer and founder of leading post-war fashion house Balmain. Known for sophistication and elegance, he described the art of dressmaking as "the architecture of movement."[2]

Balmain's father, who died when the future designer was seven years old, was the owner of a wholesale drapery business. His mother Françoise ran a fashion boutique called Galeries Parisiennes with her sisters.[1] He went to school at Chambéry and, during weekends with his uncle in the spa town of Aix-les-Bains, his interest in couture fashion was inspired by society women he met.[1]

Balmain began studying architecture at the École des Beaux-Arts in 1933, also undertaking freelance work drawing for the designer Robert Piguet. After visiting the studio of Edward Molyneux in 1934, he was offered a job, leaving his studies and working for the designer for the succeeding five years.[3] He joined Lucien Lelong during World War II – where he met the young designer Christian Dior.[2][3]

His companion was the Danish designer Erik Mortensen, who worked as a designer at Balmain from 1948 until 1991. Margit Brandt worked as a young designer with Pierre Balmain in the early 1960s. Balmain also spotted the talent of Karl Lagerfeld, hiring him in 1954 after judging a fashion competition that the young German designer won.[1]

Pierre Balmain died at the age of 68 of liver cancer at the American Hospital of Paris, as he just completed the sketches for his fall collection.[4]


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/queerplaces/images/Pierre_Balmain#References