Designer Christophe Decarnin will be leaving the helm of Balmain, Women's Wear Daily reports. The fashion house is expected to announce the split today and name a successor -- supposedly someone internal, possibly stylist Melanie Ward, according to Cathy Horyn -- imminently.
Decarnin certainly increased the label's popularity during his five-year tenure there, but questions were asked when he missed the final bow at Balmain's show as part of Paris Fashion Week in March.
At the time, Alain Hivelin, Balmain's owner, explained to the Telegraph that Decarnin was "tired, after working on the collection. No, he's NOT retired. He's just tired. He didn't go to bed until 5 a.m. He's not here, he's resting."
Other outlets, like Hint Mag, claimed that Decarnin was in a mental hospital following a nervous breakdown three months ago -- "Decarnin is said to have disappeared one day in mid-January. Soon after, according to our source, it was announced to employees that he would not be returning." Hint also wrote that Decarnin did not work on the fall collection.
Sources close to the designer say speculation about Decarnin's mental health was overblown.
In fact, tensions between the designer and Balmain's chairman and chief executive officer Alain Hivelin had reached a breaking point, with the two men said to have widely divergent views on the company's strategy and future direction.
Balmain is best-known for dressing the likes of Ava Gardner, Brigitte Bardot and Josephine Baker back in the day and for its minidresses, ripped t-shirts and studded leather on shelves now.