Cristobal Balenciaga: A Spanish Master

 I recently attended the Balenciaga exhibit at the Sophia Spanish Museum in NY for a beautiful retrospective of the designer's work.
Suzy Parker, Vogue cover 1953

Cristobal, heavily influenced by Spanish culture, art, religion and religious uniforms was a consummate  tailor and "explorer of new ideas".  He designed for Royalty and the Spanish Aristocracy until the Spanish civil war forced him to move to Paris.

Gazar (a stiff silk gauze) was created for him so he could create sculptural forms with minimal seaming.

Infanta evening dress and a noble look

The cape of the evening coat was influenced by Cardinals robes.  The simple cut of the dresses below were a contrast in austerity and extravagance that he saw in the church.

 Maids ( the white apron) and monks (robes) inspired Balenciaga.  He took simple shapes and festooned and exaggerated them.  Balenciaga's ceaseless explorations ensured that his work would remain intriguing and influential years after his death.

You cannot speak to Spanish culture without referencing Bull fighting, the Matador and the rituals associated with the bullfight.

Trim and cut similar to a Matador's jacket

Other significant influences were the beautiful ruffles of the flamingo dancers skirts, the elaborate, colorful embroidery indigenous to the Spanish culture and the nomadic spirit of the gypsy.

Tossing roses into the ring is customary, it became the focus of a hat

"A fashion designer must be an architect for perspectives, a sculptor for shapes, a painter for color, a musician for harmony and a philosopher for a sense of proportion"
                                                                 ~ Christobal Balenciaga


I see a lot of similarities in the work of Cristobal and Carolina Herrera.  She is also, obviously, influenced by her heritage and maybe by him.

photos:the coveted, Huffington Post, Telegraph UK

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