MAJOR NEW EXHIBITION Explore The History Of Balenciaga

There are only a handful of designers who have achieved icon status – those that will live on in fashion history for generations to come and will shape and influence all designers that come after them. Spanish designer Cristobal Balenciaga is one of those designers and the house that he created, some 80 years ago, is now one of the most recognisable and coveted names in fashion.

To celebrate his legacy tomorrow the V&A opens the first ever UK exhibition, Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion exploring his work, from sketches to early creations to one-off commissions for the likes of Ava Gardner, who moved to Spain in the 50s and became one of his most prolific clients.

Hiro (1930) Alberta Tiburzi in ‘envelope’ dress by Cristobal Balenciaga, Harper’s Bazaar, June 1967, copyright Hiro

The exhibition features over 100 pieces and 20 hats – Balenciaga designed one to go with every outfit he created – as well as pieces from subsequent designers including Nicolas Ghesquiere who became creative director at the house when he was only 25, and several gowns from Cristobal Balenciaga’s protege Hubert Givenchy.

“The exhibition shows his lasting impact on fashion through the work of those who trained with him,” says the exhibition’s curator Cassie Davies-Strodder, “and through recent garments by designers including Molly Goddard, Demna Gvaslia and J.W. Anderson who reflect the legacy of his vision today.”

Balenciaga:Shaping Fashion opens at the V&A tomorrow and runs until February 2018

Main image: Richard Avedon (1923-2004) Dovima with Sacha, cloche and suit by Balenciaga Cafe des Deux Magots, Paris 1955, copyright The Richard Avedon Foundation 

Mark Shaw (1921-1969) Model wearing Balenciaga orange coat as I. Magnin buyers inspect a dinner outfit in the background, Paris, 1954, copyright Mark Shaw
Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004) Cristobal Balenciaga at work, Paris, 1968, copyright Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos
Iving Penn (1917-2009) Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn wearing coat by Cristobal Balenciaga, Paris, 1950, copyright Conde Nast / Irving Penn Foundation

Cecil Beaton (1904-1980) Evening dress, Cristobal Balenciaga, Paris, 1962, Photograph 1971, copyright Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

Cecil Beaton (1904-1980) Flamenco-style evening dress, Cristobal Balenciaga, Paris 1961 Photograph 1971, copyright Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s


Courtesy of Hunger Magazine