He's famous for his cocoon coat, babydoll dresses and, in the 40s, the square coat and other bold designs which startled the establishment so much that people travelled warn-torn Europe to see them in Paris for themselves.
Born into a small fishing village in Spain, Cristobal Balenciaga's name resonates with fashion aficionados and historians of the post-war period alike. Considered the master of haute couture in the 1950s and 1960s, Balenciaga has remained a household name for the last half-century, revered by both contemporaries and modern fashion designers.
The V&A's spring exhibition showcases over 100 pieces and 20 hats from his formative period the mid-20th century, and will examine his legacy on today's designers and fashion power houses. The V&A will use x-ray imaging to show how innovative Balenciaga's work was- inside and out.
1) X-ray photograph of silk taffeta evening dress by Cristóbal Balenciaga, 1955, Paris, France. X-ray by Nick Veasey, 2016. © Nick Veasey
2) Evening mini-dress, Paco Rabanne, 1967. Museum no. T.165:1 to 3-1983. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
3) Wild silk evening dress (detail), Cristóbal Balenciaga with embroidery by Lesage, 1960 – 2, Paris, France. Museum no. T.27-1974. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
The first exhibition of Balenciaga's work in the UK, the exhibition will mark the 100th anniversary of the opening of his first fashion house in San Sebastian when he was aged just 22, and the 80th anniversary of his Parisian salon, opened when he was forced to move to the French capital due to the Spanish Civil War.
The focus of the exhibit will be to explore the innovative and intricate craftsmanship which the designer prioritised in his work, highlighting his pioneering use of fabrics which set the precedent for the rest of the century. His work was fluid and sculptural at the same time, and consistently redefined what fashion meant during the period, rivalled only by couture impresarios like Christian Dior and Coco Chanel.
This forensic look at his skill as a designer and a creator will show clothes which have not been seen by the public before. Sketches, photographs and fabric samples will be utilised to add texture to the exhibit, while film, x-rays and toiles will be on show to reveal the hidden details in the construction of Balenciaga's unique work.
We cannot wait for what promises to be an insightful look at the life and work of this haute-couture heavyweight. You can already pre-book your tickets for £12 at the V&A
|What||Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion, V&A - now booking|
South Kensington, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL | MAP
|Nearest tube||South Kensington (underground)|
27 May 17 – 18 Feb 18, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
|Website||Book your tickets at the V&A|