Balenciaga, 100 Years Later
This year is Balenciaga’s centennial, and as the iconic brand hits this major milestone, it is celebrating its history by putting on an exhibition in Paris.
The exhibition, ‘Working in Black,’ is hosted by the Palais Gallieria and will run through July. It features solely pieces created by Christóbal Balenciaga from 1938 to 1968 and spotlights the couturier’s innovative shapes for which he was known during his time, as well as his intricate embellishments and tailoring skills. And even more interesting—as the title explains, ‘Working in Black’ shows only designs by Balenciaga rendered in black. The museum’s director of haute couture explained, “We realized that we could really spotlight creation, shape, volume, and construction because we weren’t distracted by color.”
For those interested in Balenciaga’s history but don’t have time to jump on a train to Paris, you’re in luck. The Victoria and Albert Museum will be hosting a retrospective of the French couture house from the 27th of May, entitled ‘Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion.’ Click here to book.
Christóbal Balenciaga was a Spanish couturier who relocated to Paris following the Spanish Civil War. His blend of cultures led to a unique style that was met with praise as he took inspiration from Spanish art and combined it with traditional couture techniques. Balenciaga was revered as a master of shape and volume, as highlighted in the ‘Working in Black’ exhibition. While his contemporary Christian Dior focused on shapes that mimicked the female silhouette, Balenciaga took his forms a step further, creating dramatic and beautiful shapes that made its wearer noticed.
This season, Balenciaga’s new creative director Demna Gvasalia recalled Christóbal’s original style in creating his own look for the brand. Gvasalia aimed to translate the founder’s modern sophistication into a collection that speaks to today’s consumers. In doing so, he created a collection of looks that highlighted draping, asymmetric forms, and an emphasis on shape that is simultaneously contemporary and wearable.