Divider
Culture Comment Leave a Comment

CULTURE LENS – BALENCIAGA: SHAPING FASHION

2 Shares

If you’re going to be in London anytime soon treat yourself to a few hours at the Victoria & Albert Museum to see BALENCIAGA: SHAPING FASHION.  On display you will find some of the iconic designs of Cristóbal Balenciaga, the Spanish fashion designer and perhaps one of history’s most revered couturiers.  You will also discover how Cristóbal Balenciaga’s exquisite craftsmanship and innovative designs shaped modern fashion and influenced the work of 20th and 21st century designers including Oscar de la Renta, Andre Courreges, Emanuel Ungaro, Paco Rabbane  and Hubert de Givenchy.  When it comes to fashion exhibits, the curators at the V&A do an exceptional job engaging, educating and inspiring, and this Balenciaga presentation earns high scores across the board.

Victoria & Albert Museum Balenciaga exhibit

Victoria & Albert Museum

The Balenciaga exhibit at the Royal Victoria & Albert Museum in London

The Balenciaga exhibit at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London

The Balenciaga exhibit at the Royal Victoria & Albert Museum in London

Cristóbal Balenciaga had a meticulous eye for perfection and beauty

The Balenciaga exhibit at the Royal Victoria & Albert Museum in London

Cristóbal Balenciaga

Amphora dress by Cristobal Balenciaga Summer 1959

Amphora dress Summer 1959

 Vintage Balenciaga Dress from 1950s

Vintage Balenciaga Dress from 1950s

Iconic image by American Vogue photographer Clifford Coffin (1913-1972) featuring a blonde mink Balenciaga coat

Iconic image by American Vogue photographer Clifford Coffin (1913-1972) featuring a blonde mink coat by the iconic designer

Pieces featured in the Balenciaga : Shaping Fashion exhibit

Vintage collections

Pieces featured in the Balenciaga : Shaping Fashion exhibit

Pieces featured in the V&A Exhibit

Cristóbal Balenciaga: A Life of Beauty

Cristóbal began his career in Spain in 1919 designing for the Spanish royal family and aristocracy, moving on to Paris in 1937 to escape the Spanish Civil War.  Once in Paris he quickly gained notoriety as a fashion innovator and his couture house caught the attention of the top fashion editors and luxury fashion customers from around the world.   Over the years, Pauline de Rothschild, Bunny Mellon and Jackie Kennedy were just a few of his most ardent fans.

Cristóbal Balenciaga at work, Paris, 1968. Photograph Henri Cartier-Bresson © Henri Cartier-Bresson, Magnum Photos

Christobal BALENCIAGA (à gauche). Cristóbal at work, Paris, 1968. Photograph Henri Cartier-Bresson © Henri Cartier-Bresson, Magnum Photos

balenciaga vintage couture

Couture pieces from the designer in 1953

fashion history balenciaga and model dovima

Dovima with Sacha cloche and suit by Balenciaga Café des Deux Magots, Paris, 1955

Spiral hat, silk, Balenciaga for Eisa, Spain, 1962 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Spiral hat, silk, for Eisa, Spain, 1962 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Balenciaga Haute Couture A/W 1967/68 by Irving Penn with Sue Murray, US Vogue Sep 1967

 Haute Couture A/W 1967/68 by Irving Penn with Sue Murray, US Vogue Sep 1967

Among his many notable contributions to fashion are the cocoon coat, a popular silhouette in fur design today, as well as the sack dress, the balloon skirt and the high-waisted baby-doll dress.  A master at draping and fabric manipulation, he used heavy fabrics and intricate embroideries to create his bold, luxurious looks.  Funnel shaped gowns and bracelet sleeves were other trademarks styles. Cristóbal’s hats were some of the most elaborate of their time playing with scale, shape and unusual materials

Evening dress, silk taffeta, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Paris, 1955 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Evening dress, silk taffeta,  Paris, 1955 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

balenciaga exhibit

Left, a gown for EISA, “La Tulipe” evening dress, Spain, 1965. Made for Ava Gardner. Photograph © Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Right,  “Baby doll” cocktail dress, Paris, 1958. Photograph ©

This exhibition examines the work and legacy of the legendary designer with over 100 pieces crafted by ‘the master’ of couture, his protégées and contemporary fashion designers working in the same innovative tradition.

Pieces featured in the Balenciaga : Shaping Fashion exhibit

Pieces featured in the Balenciaga : Shaping Fashion exhibit

Pieces featured in the Balenciaga : Shaping Fashion exhibit

Pieces featured in the Exhibit

BALENCIAGA: SHAPING FASHION is on exhibit now through Feb. 18, 2018.

2 Shares