The 1945 bag collection highlights the bold optimism behind the house’s founding.

When Pierre Balmain founded his eponymous couture house in the fall of 1945, he was taking a daring bet. After years of war, invasion and occupation, he was willing to believe in the possibilities of new beginnings and better days ahead. And, by taking risks and challenging preconceived notions, Pierre Balmain and a handful of other daring young talents were ultimately responsible for a historic post-war fashion renaissance, making it very clear that Paris remained as fashion’s capital.

Balmain’s 1945 Collection salutes that audacious founding spirit. For this line, Creative Director Olivier Rousteing and his team were inspired by some of Pierre Balmain’s strongest mid-century designs to create a bold collection of soft-leather and jacquard bags, in a variety of sizes and shapes.

Balmain The 1945 Collection
Croquis Pierre Balmain Haute Couture 1971

Sketch of “Le Mans” design, covered with the house’s Labyrinth Pattern
Pierre Balmain Haute Couture Collection, Spring 1971
©Balmain Archives All Rights Reserved

The striking jacquard pattern design covering four silhouettes revives and modernizes a distinctive house pattern that covered several Balmain men’s and women’s ready-to-wear and a host of accessories designs in the early seventies. Of course, the repeating “B” references the founder and his house, with the interlocking “P” evoking both Pierre and Paris, the city that has been so closely intertwined with the house’s history and creations.

The collection


This Balmain Labyrinth motif also reflects Pierre Balmain’s fascination with the intricate mazes that form a part of some of France’s most beautiful Renaissance gardens. Balmain named many of his couture collections for the classic chateaux and gardens of France and this clever maze-inspired pattern underlines his love for the singular heritage of French design.

Pierre Balmain often posed his latest designs for photographs on the sidewalks outside of the house’s ateliers—like this mid-century ensemble and luggage covered with the house’s historic Labyrinth Pattern.
©Balmain Archives All Rights Reserved

Balmain Leather design 1945

1945’s complementary line of soft-leather designs in elegantly contrasts of ivory and black highlights one of the house’s most recognizable codes—the shared love that both Pierre Balmain and Olivier Rousteing have for dynamically contrasting monochromatic patterns.

All the bags in the collection rely on unique golden embellishments, once again reflecting a shared signature of both Pierre Balmain and Olivier Rousteing—gold medallions, gilded buttons and golden symbols have graced Balmain creations since Pierre Balmain’s earliest days and remain a key element in Olivier Rousteing’s collections today.

An entirely new galvanization process ensures that these 1945 symbols, chains and closures look slightly aged, underlining this collection’s salute to the house’s distinct and inspiring heritage.

1945 BAG