Categories FashionPosted on

Balenciaga at the V&A: The Designers’ Designer

SEEN is delighted to share the latest fashion exhibition news at the V&A - Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion, the first exhibition to be held about Cristóbal Balenciaga in the UK, marks the 100th anniversary of the opening of his first fashion house in San Sebastian, and the 80th anniversary of the opening of his famous Paris salon in 1937. Beginning on 27th May 2017, and for nine months, this unique exhibition will display some of the most representative pieces of Balenciaga, “the master of us all”, according to Christian Dior.

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SEEN is delighted to share the latest fashion exhibition news at the V&A – Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion, the first exhibition to be held about Cristóbal Balenciaga in the UK, marks the 100th anniversary of the opening of his first fashion house in San Sebastian, and the 80th anniversary of the opening of his famous Paris salon in 1937. Beginning on 27th May 2017, and for nine months, this unique exhibition will display some of the most representative pieces of Balenciaga, “the master of us all”, according to Christian Dior.

T.39-1974; T.39A-1974 Evening gown and cape Gazar, sleeveless dress with scoop neck . Short in the front and dipping to a slight train at the back - this line is echoed by the cape which front fastens with two large self covered buttons Balenciaga, Paris, 1967
Evening ensemble (reverse), designed by Cristóbal Balenciaga, Paris, 1967.
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Evening dress of poult, designed by Cristóbal Balenciaga, Paris, 1960.

Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion will display around 100 beautiful garments and 20 hats that will allow visitors to appreciate in detail the craftsmanship and skill that made all the creations of this exceptional designer so special, shaping future fashion design. Sketches, photographs and fabric samples will contextualise the garments and patterns. X-rays, toiles and film will be used to reveal details of their construction and making. Through this unique exhibition, visitors will be able to fully understand the talent of Balenciaga, often called a ‘designer’s designer’, since some knowledge of tailoring is needed to fully appreciate his clothes.

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Gazar evening dress, designed by Cristóbal Balenciaga, Paris, February 1961.

The V&A has a large and important collection of Balenciaga and many pieces have never been seen before. Revered by his contemporaries and fashion designers today, Balenciaga represented the pinnacle of haute couture in the 1950s and 1960s, and is widely regarded as one of the most innovative and influential designers of the last century.

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Evening dress of embroidered satin, designed by Cristóbal Balenciaga, Paris, 1955.

Balenciaga’s 1962 evening dress: embroidered wild silk lined with silk, is a perfect example of his exquisite craftsmanship and unique use of fabrics and cutting.

T.27-1974 Evening dress Cristóbal Balenciaga (1895-1972) Paris 1962 Embroidered silk
Embroidered wild silk evening dress, designed by Cristóbal Balenciaga, Paris, 1962.

He pioneered the use of firm, stiff fabrics which gave his clothing a sculptural appearance, like his 1953-43 evening dress in silk taffeta, boned and padded, metal, machine-sewn and hand-finished, wire, lined with chiffon.

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Silk taffeta evening dress, designed by Cristóbal Balenciaga, Paris, 1954.

The House of Balenciaga, opened in 1914 in San Sebastian, in the Basque region of Spain, moved to Paris in the 1930s, where he became known for dramatic black coats and dresses which recalled Spanish fashions of the Elizabethan age. For decades, he led the Paris fashion world and had many wealthy customers. However, it was severely challenged in the 1960s, as fashionable young people bought ready-to-wear clothing instead of couture. Symbolically, Balenciaga closed down his fashion house in 1968, a year of violent political protests in Paris. Nonetheless, in training both Courrèges and Ungaro, Balenciaga continued to radically influence 1960s fashion.

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Jacket and skirt of tweed lined with silk, designed by Cristóbal Balenciaga, Paris, 1954-1955.

SEEN cannot wait to explore this fabulous and unique exhibition of Balenciaga, “the only couturier in the truest sense of the word”, as described by Coco Chanel.

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Bandeau hat, designed by Cristóbal Balenciaga, Paris, 1955-1960.
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Beret shaped hat, Balenciaga, Paris, ca. 1950.
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Spiral hat of stiffened fabric covered in silk, designed by Cristóbal Balenciaga for Eisa, Spain, 1962.
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Small puffball headdress made in silk satin, designed by Cristóbal Balenciaga, Paris, ca. 1960.

www.vam.ac.uk

Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion
27 May 2017 – 18 February 2018

Victoria and Albert Museum
Cromwell Rd
London SW7 2RL

Credits

Photography courtesy of Victoria & Albert Museum.

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