Fashion 101

While I have an insatiable thirst for fashion I definitely do not know all that there is to know.  In this weekly section I will write about one (or a few) fashion players (designers, models, photographers, stylists, etc.), terms (what does ‘bespoke’ mean?) and the like.

First up to bat are two men that we’ve been hearing a lot about lately, Pierre Balmain and Matthew Williamson.

Pierre Balmain


Pierre BalmainBorn in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne on May 18, 1914 Pierre Balmain studied architecture before trading one passion for another taking up fashion design instead. 

After working for such designers as Robert Piguet, Lucien Lelong and Edward Molyneux (and sketching alongside a young Christian Dior who later became his design rival) he branched off on his own and formed Balmain in October 12, 1945.  His creations were met with immediate success and acclaim as fashion aficianados saw in his designs an end to wartime austerity and utility. 

Balmain evening gowns

Balmain evening gowns

With clients such as Sophia Loren, Katherine Hepburn and the Duchess of Windsor Balmain became known for elegant, wearable clothes and extravagant evening wear.  The designer passed away on June 29, 1982 but his legacy lives.   

Model wearing Balmain evening gown (1961)

Today, while much has changed much remains the same.  The label, now lead by Christophe Decarnin, still offers women opulent clothing options but  now 80’s rocker chic is given a sophisticated twist in the form of distressed stonewashed jeans, crystal studded military jackets, and brightly colored jewel encrusted bandage dresses.

Matthew Williamson

 Matthew Williamson

Born in the south Manchester suburb of Chorlton Matthew Williamson went to renowned art and design college Central St. Martins. 

Upon his graduation in 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fashion Design and Printed Textiles he took up a freelancing job at Marni (known for patterns, patterns, patters!). 

In February 1996 he founded his own label with his business partner Joseph Velosa and in September 1997 he debuted his first show.  Known for his unique sense of colour and print as well as his embroidery his first show featured models such as Kate Moss, Helena Christensen and Jade Jagger.

Matthew Williamson asymmetrical draped dress

Matthew Williamson asymmetrical draped dress

In 2005 Williamson became creative director for Emilio Pucci, another label know for their bold prints, until 2008.

Matthew Williamson dress

And, as many of you know, he has designed a capsule collection for wallet-friendly chain H & M.



About Septembre

Septembre Anderson is a passionate journalist, cultural critic and public intellectual. Her work has appeared in Flare, FASHION Magazine,, Complex Canada, Vice Canada and Huffington Post Canada.
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