Affordable Balmain? But we already have that in Dubai – 75% off!
French couture house Balmain, known for its crazy expensive wares (think $30,000 dresses), will soon unveil an affordable clothing line to bear the label Pierre Balmain, named after the maison’s founder, WWD reports.
Italy’s Ittierre SpA has entered into a licensing agreement with the house to produce a diffusion line – although we’re not expecting diffusion line prices – that will be under the creative direction of a separate design team. The collection will ultimately be approved by Balmain’s new chief designer Olivier Rousteing, who was given the position some months ago after Christophe Decarnin was hospitalised for depression.
A look from Balmain’s Fall/Winter 2011 collection
A curious thing to ask about this new project is how different it would be from what’s already being done to the Balmain brand here in the UAE. As you are probably already aware, the Balmain name, along with other reputable brands such as Pierre Cardin, Ted Lapidus and Cerruti, is prominent in the Emirates even among the masses due to its massive retail footprint and an all-year-round 75% off promotion.
The now infamous tourist-friendly pay-a-quarter-of-the-price sales promotion is made possible thanks to a business venture that falls under a similar type of agreement between Balmain and a Dubai-based licensee.
The local partner is permitted to sell under the Balmain trademark without having to have the clothes made from couture-quality materials by skilled tailors and seamstresses in Paris. Less stringest material and labour requirements mean lower costs mean lower retail prices.
These licensed stores can be found in all sorts of retail environments in the UAE, with a high and low mix of shopping destinations, some in malls and others in the city’s knock-off capitals like Karama and Satwa. Some stores, such as that in Deira City Centre, even use the Pierre Balmain brand in their signage. Surely, that’s going to cause some problems once the real Pierre Balmain collection hits the racks in Spring 2012.
We guess we’ll just have to wait and see.