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Got the Balmain Blues?

January 26, 2010

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Every fashionista worth her stilettos knows that the house of Balmain has been reinvigorated by Christophe Decarnin the last few years thanks to his directional designs. Well, Balmain’s prices have also been directional, mainly skyhigh, with $1,600 t-shirts and $50,000 dresses. Needless to say, many of us have had to be content to watch from the runway sidelines.

However, WWD reports this week, that Balmain is quietly working on a lower priced line, named Blue Label, to attract clients in its fastest growing markets: China and South East Asia. The line is priced 40-50% less than the top line and will be rolled out in test for fall-winter. Balmain also carries a Mongolian cashmere line that is also sold exclusively in China.

As with Hermes, it will be interesting to see if the diffusion of the brand leads to failure or success. It’s worked for others before, but in a new market with unfamiliar consumer characteristics, it remains to be seen how the Chinese customer will react.

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