>> After reports that Balmain would go with an internal candidate to replace Christophe Decarnin, now comes news that Olivier Rousteing, a key deputy of Decarnin's — not Melanie Ward, as previously suggested — is likely the designer of choice. The contract is in the process, and Rousteing's appointment is expected to be announced as early as next week. Rousteing, "a young and promising creative dynamo," according to WWD's sources, has worked at Balmain since 2009 and was at Roberto Cavalli in Milan for almost six years before that. And as WWD points out, "promoting a number two has become a popular succession strategy in fashion in recent years as the importance of star designers has waned" — take Hannah MacGibbon at Chloe or Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli at Valentino, for example. [WWD]

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