Hamish Bowles, the guest curator of Balenciaga and Spain, knows a great deal about a great many things in the fashion universe. As European editor at large for Vogue, he profiles the fashion cognoscenti and embarks upon experiential journeys, bringing his unique sense of style to surfing lessons or surviving in the woods. Read More
Publicity-shy to the point of reclusive, monastically devoted to his craft and boundlessly inventive in a realm that often rewards brash showmanship and market-tuned imitation, the Spaniard Cristóbal Balenciaga (1895-1972) was an improbable figure to dominate the fiercely competitive world of 20th-century Parisian haute couture. But dominate he did for more than three decades, from 1937 to 1968, with designs of unequaled elegance, searching innovation, technical mastery and lyrical grace. Read More
Cristóbal Balenciaga spent most of his career where he belonged, as an acknowledged master in the haute couture world capital of Paris. But his Spanish homeland was the ever-present lifeblood of his work, nourishing every phase and aspect of his art. Read More
MADRID — Standing by a softly lit display of Balenciaga dresses at the Museo del Traje (Museum of Fashion and Costumes), curator Concha Herranz admired the contours of a sleek black evening gown. It appeared to be made from a single piece of supple, molded fabric.
“[Cristóbal] Balenciaga cut in a way that used as few seams as possible,” Herranz explained through an interpreter. “See how he draws the dress out of the material? He was an architect of fashion.” Read More
What makes Cristobal Balenciaga unique among designers? Gladys Perint Palmer, the executive director of fashion for the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, has a simple answer: “Any 50-year-old Balenciaga coat or ball gown could be worn today — and judging by designers who copy the great master, many of us are wearing knockoffs.” Read More