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Couturier Pierre Balmain opened his Parisian fashion house in 1945 to a welcoming female clientele, eager to greet the arrival of what Gertrude Stein called, the "New French Style." No longer held back by the Depression and second World War, women were ready to dress themselves in opulent, rich luxurywear. The quintessential Balmain woman, such as Ava Gardner or Brigitte Bardot, both of whom adored the designer's work, was lively, exquisite, elegant and a little bit sassy. The house puts a contemporary twist on that tradition with distressed, safety pin-adorned jackets, spray-on jeans and innovative cocktail dresses.