Flashback to Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion Exhibition



Balenciaga is one of the most innovative and influential fashion designers of the last century. His incredible craftsmanship and pioneering use of fabrics shaped fashion and the female silhouette, setting the tone for modern fashion.



Cristobal Balenciaga was known as ‘The Master’ of Haute Couture. I know your probably thinking what is haute couture? I use to say the same thing! Haute Couture is the creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing. It is high-end fashion that is constructed by hand from start to finish, made from high-quality, expensive, often unusual fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail and finished by the most experienced and capable sewers often using time consuming, hand sewing techniques.


All the designers that were inspired by Balenciaga had something to say about how influential the Spanish designer was on shaping the industry. The writing was on the wall for all to see with quotes plastered around the space. Given that Balenciaga was so admired by his contemporaries Christian Dior famously called him “the master of us all”, it comes as no surprise that his artistry continues to impact 21st Century designers.



Cristobal Balenciaga was celebrated at London’s Victoria and Albert Museums exhibition Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion & ran from May, 27  2017 to February 18, 2018. I was so excited to attend this Museum because I love Balenciaga and happy I had the opportunity to learn more about him and see his work from overtime.


I found it interesting that Balenciaga didn’t do many interviews or even write a biography. When you think about what society is like today it seems kinda crazy. Most designers use media coverage to get famous yet Cristobal only never did one interview! He seemed to be very private. For the first 10 years of his fashion house he banned the press from his first showings.


Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion was the first major fashion exhibition at the V&A. It showcases over 100 garments and hats crafted by Balenciaga. It examines Balenciaga’s work from the 1950s and 1960s, which is arguably the most creative period of his career. During this time he dressed some of the most renowned women of the age and became inspired by his contemporaries, including Christian Dior and Coco Chanel.




DOWNSTAIRS FLOOR



This is the Black envelope dress that Alberta Tiburzi famously wore in 1967, that was featured in the exhibition. 



Most of the designs from the exhibition includes several of the pieces it received as donations after his famous client’s death, who lived near Harrods. Love love Harrods, you’ll learn more about Harrods in one of my next posts.

Although, the entire downstairs floor is dedicated to an impressive archive focusing on Cristóbal’s later years at Balenciaga. It featured some of the designer’s revolutionary shapes like the cocktail dress and shift dresses.



UPSTAIRS FLOOR


The top floor of the exhibition includes more displays exploring Balenciaga’s influence on later designers, who have been inspired by Balenciaga. From Calvin Klein, Coco Chanel to Christian Dior.


All the designers that were inspired by Balenciaga had something to say about how influential the Spanish designer was on shaping the industry. The writing was on the wall for all to see with quotes plastered around the space. Given that Balenciaga was so admired by his contemporaries Christian Dior famously called him “the master of us all”, it comes as no surprise that his artistry continues to impact 21st Century designers.






Quotes

All the designers that were inspired by Balenciaga had something to say about how influential the Spanish designer was on shaping the industry. The writing was on the wall for all to see with quotes plastered around the space. Given that Balenciaga was so admired by his contemporaries Christian Dior famously called him “the master of us all”, it comes as no surprise that his artistry continues to impact 21st Century designers.


In a special collaboration with the V&A, artist Nick Veasey has built the first ever mobile x-ray art studio. The images from it are displayed alongside the clothing exhibited. The project reveals details you might have missed, on how Balenciaga created his signature shapes as well as replicas created by students at the London College of Fashion.






X-Ray Art



All the designers that were inspired by Balenciaga had something to say about how influential the Spanish designer was on shaping the industry. The writing was on the wall for all to see with quotes plastered around the space. Given that Balenciaga was so admired by his contemporaries Christian Dior famously called him “the master of us all”, it comes as no surprise that his artistry continues to impact 21st Century designers.




I really enjoyed attending Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion, it enabled me to see what made him so successful through his collections over time. This was one of my favorite museums because I loved that it incorporated other designers that were inspired by him. Also, it focused on craftsmanship and skill, rather than on beauty alone. Check out some other looks from the exhbition.


Which design is your favorite?


xx, A

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