photo credit: see below
Madrid features one of many retrospectives of Balenciaga’s creations in these last days of Summer. The exhibit "Mirar y Pensar Balenciaga" (See and Think Balenciaga) is shown at the Museo del Traje (Museum of clothes) in Madrid, it can be seen until 16 Sept 2012.
The exhibit features photographs by Manuel Outumuro, (from 1935 to 1968) most of the couture shown is owned by La Fundación Cristóbal Balenciaga.
photo credit: see below
I am taking this exhibit as an opportunity to talk more about Balenciaga, his inspiration from his Basque origin, Spanish historical costumes, Royal portraits, religion, and elements of his cultural experience. Balenciaga understood the historical roots of fashion, the development of his designs were shaped from his experiences of daily life in Spain.
Balenciaga's designs of the1950s had a strong influence of the Flamenco, expression of passion, rhythm and movement. The bata de cola skirt, with its ruffles and full flowing silhouettes, became part of the silhouette in skirts and gowns.
The costumes and rituals of La Corrida, (bullfighting), became bolero jackets, or bolero style embellishments on gowns in the early1960s. The bright colors from the “traje de luces”, the matador’s costumes, are shown as silk in deep red, fuchsia and sunny bright yellow.
The cape, or “Capote”, used by the matadors, is transformed into a cape worn with an evening gown or a coat. Or reminiscent of the movement of the Capote by a matador, it becomes the skirt of an evening gown.
Elements of traditional and regional Basque dressing, as in the Fisherman’s blouse, transposed into a silk coat for evening wear.
Since his origins in the early 1940s, Balenciaga experimented with new ways to accentuate the feminine form. He incorporated elements such as bows, rosettes, lace, beads, feathers in a new way, and used embroidery, elaborate trimmings or Passementerie, and embellished fabrics.
pleats photo credit: see below
Balenciaga’s use of fabrics with new textures, silk faille, Moire fabric, became an expression of modern style in the early 60s. Balenciaga experimented with proportion, structure, designed a streamlined silhouette, with well constructed tailoring, that looks as if the fabric falls effortlessly over the feminine curves. The simplicity and purity of form and shape in his design, is at the same time very reduced and modern in their expression.
He influenced Hubert de Givenchy, who worked with Balenciaga, early in his career. Givenchy learned so much from Balenciaga, as seen in the designs worn by Jackie Kennedy. Christian Dior said, that he was influenced by Balenciga’s vision, his silhouettes, his design gestures. Balenciaga’s influence on Oscar de la Renta, his Protégé, is so apparent, who so skillfully blends his own cultural background and use of fabrics to surprise us with elegant creation of his own.
Balenciaga’s influence on other designers is still apparent today, his fashion house, infused with new talent, is still a symbol of elegance. If you are interested in seeing more about the creations of Balenciaga, visit the website, La Maison Balenciaga, Heritage, you will find a well presented timeline of the career and fashion development of Cristóbal Balenciaga.
more information: www.balenciaga.com La Maison Balenciaga, Heritage,
photo credit: www.balenciaga.com
Museo del Traje. Centro de Investigación del Patrimonio Etnológico
Avenida Juan de Herrera 2 (Ciudad Universitaria)
28040 Madrid (Madrid)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, www.metmuseum.org
Special loans from private collections.
Victoria and Albert Museum in London www.vam.ac.uk
Musée de la Mode et du Textile and the Musée Galliera in Paris,
Museum of the Fashion Institute of Technology,
Phoenix Art Museum, and the Texas Fashion Collection,
Private couture collectors, Sandy Schreier.