“Balenciaga achieved what is considered to be the most important contribution to world of fashion: a new silhouette for women.”
A true innovator, who dominated the changing world of Parisian couture after the II World War, is Cristobal Balenciaga.
With the skill of an expert tailor, he created garments of fluidity and grace.Unlike many couturiers, he was able to drape, cut, and fit his own muslin patterns.
Balenciaga was respected by the fashion world for his knowledge of technique and construction, and his perfectionism.
Spanish-born, a son of seamstress, from which he learned the bases of profession he will dominate later, he become quickly the chief designer for the Spanish Royal Family in his twenties.
But the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, forced him to shut the two boutiques opened in Madrid and move to Paris.
There, the talented designer joined the ranks of Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli and others couturiers.
In august 1937, he launched his house on Avenue George V- number 10, and present his first show in Paris.
By 1939, Balenciaga was being praised in the French press as revolutionizing force in fashion, with buyers and customers, fighting to gain access to his collection.
He presents a collection with deep historical influence and clear references to 17th century fashion and style of the Second French Empire. His “Infanta” evening dresses(inspired by the costumes of the young spanish princesses from portraits by Diego Velazquez) are an overwhelming success adorned with magnificent embroidery.
In the postwar years, Balenciaga’s designs became linear and streamlined. He favored fluid lines that allowed him to alter the way clothing related to woman’s body. Waistlines were dropped, then raised, independent of the wearer’s natural waistline.
In 1953, he introduced the balloon jacket, an elegant sphere that encased the upper body and provided a pedestal for the wearer’s head.
In 1957 came the creation of his high-waisted baby-doll dress, the draped cocoon coat, balloon skirt and sack dress which were copied by a large number of ready-to-wear manufacturers.
He liked working with heavy cloths, bold materials and ornate embroideries which led him to Swiss fabric of Abraham.
With their help, he developed silk gazar, a stiff but pliable fabric that Balenciaga used in suits, day dresses or evening gowns.
By going against the grain of the current fashions, he modernized fashion with every collection providing a very powerful vision of fashion fowardness. His designs are conceptual visions of art that border on the line of avant-garde and sophisticated sexiness.
At the 30-year mark of his career, in 1968 Balenciaga decide slowly to close his fashion houses and retire.
In the 1972 when the inimitable couturier passed away, the world lost one of the greatest visionaries in fashion.But he continued to live through Josephus Thimister, who maintained the prestige of label and later in ’90s by the Nicholas Ghesquiere.
Balenciaga’s modern elegance has probably made one of the biggest impact in fashion. His finely sculptured pieces have and will continue to leave prominent mark on haute couture.
MATCH & MIX
Skirt: Balenciaga Calf Leather Skirt
Jacket: A detacher/Chuu Cocoon Coat
Bag: Proenza Schouler Totel Small Navy
Shoes: Le Silla Black Pumps
Blouse: Beachwood Blouse
Gloves: BCBG Max Azria Whipstitch Leather Gloves
Necklace: Yves Saint Laurent Black and Gold
Bag: Balenciaga All Time Tote
Dress: Nicole Miller Jewel Flower Dress
Shoes: Suede Shoe Boot Wedges
Jacket: J Brand Aiah Leather
Earrings: R.J. Graziano Black Crystal Drop
Necklace: Mix Metal Multi Row
“Women did not have to be perfect or even beautiful to wear his (Balenciaga) clothes.His clothes made them beautiful”.