It's official. Oscar de la Renta, who has been showing his ready-to-wear in Paris for the last two years, will design Pierre Balmain's haute couture and ready-to-wear collections. After three months of negotiations, agreement was reached Monday, Mr. de la Renta said by telephone in Paris.
His first collection for Balmain will be for spring 1993 and will be shown on Jan. 27. "I'm coming back to New York on Wednesday," he said, "and will be back in Paris for a few days in December. Then I'll spend the month of January here."
He said he would not give up his New York business, which he started with Gerald Shaw in 1966.
"My business in New York is my No. 1 priority," Mr. de la Renta said."It's a $300 million business of products with my name on the world market. I have a very, very big fragrance business. But this is a wonderful new challenge and I love a challenge.
"In January and February, I'll be designing four collections: the Oscar de la Renta collection, the Oscar de la Renta Studio collection, Balmain couture and Balmain ready-to-wear. It's so much I have to laugh because it's the only way to take it. "
He replaces Herve Pierre, who was dismissed last week. Several designers have been responsible for the line since Balmain died in 1982.
The designer recalled that early in his career he had worked for Balenciaga in Spain and for Castillo at Lanvin in Paris before coming to New York. "A lot of the people I worked with in Paris are still around," he said. "It's good to come back here."