Thursday, 17 June 2010

Balenciaga, Behind the Scene

Founded in 1918 by the Basque designer Cristobal Balenciaga, the house emerged as one of the great design establishments in the early decades of the twentieth century, and re-emerged around the turn of the new millennium as one of the greats of the twenty-first. Championed alike by actual queens (of Spain and Belgium) and the queens of café society and Hollywood (Babe Paley, Gloria Guinness, Marlene Dietrich), Balenciaga did nothing less than redefine the female silhouette.

Throughout the mid-century years, he introduced forms that at first looked awkward or simply unattractive, but, as the eye adjusted, became the latest word in chic: the sack, the baby doll, the balloon skirt, the bracelet sleeve (a 7/8 length that hit just shy of the wrist).

Balenciaga was the son of a seamstress from a small fishing village. At the urging of a prominent patron, he attended tailoring school in Madrid, and soon opened boutiques in the country. The Spanish Civil War forced him to relocate to Paris in 1937—a tragic turn of events that had a silver lining: The greater stage of Paris gave him a chance to expland his clientele and solidify his reputation as the "couturier of couturiers."

The operation, then exclusively couture, closed in 1968, an event that caused Countess Mona von Bismarck to lock herself indoors for three days. Balenciaga died in 1972.

In 1987, the name was revived as a prêt-à-porter label, but it wasn't until 1997, when the youthful French designer Nicolas Ghesquière came onboard as creative director, that the house began to regain its former prominence. Giving concepts from the rich Balenciaga archives an intriguing rethink, the instinctively progressive Ghesquière was dubbed a new messiah by the press.

In 2001, the Gucci Group added Balenciaga to its stable of luxury brands. These days, tabloid images of the princesses of Hollywood wearing—and carrying—Balenciaga keep the knockoff factories churning.


Missy M said...

i adore! i want the city bag x

Blending Style, Beauty and Fashion

Anonymous said...

interesting post! i'd love to own a balenciaga bag one day!

Jesa said...

Stumbled on your blog!! Beautiful, Beautiful photos!


Cheers, Jesa

jak said...

Hey Feb..the newspaper/magazine pattern is so cool...i wonder there is a T-Shirt like that..i want it :P

Sarah Klassen said...

I just love your blog + that's all I have to say... keep up the wonderful posts :)


Carrie said...

one day, i want to buy myself a balenciaga bag with my own money. haha.

i have something for you at my blog! come check it out:D

Draffin Bears said...

Hi Fe,

I love Balenciaga, in fact I am looking at some optical eyewear, made by them.
I enjoyed reading your interesting post.

happy weekend

margg. said...

amazing :)
they always have such lovely pieces.

Taj Acosta said...

Interesting, I love Balenciaga bags...xoxo

Smileyfreak said...

wow loads of information I never knew before :) brilliant! :) Thank you!

Joana Malagueira said...

Yes, but its kinda funny because they are dressed like Lady Gaga.

Bringing Pretty Back said...

your blog is simply beautiful.

AnieLii said...

i love your blog.

La pépite modeuse said...

I love Balenciaga !! :)

Indie.Tea said...

Thank you for the history. I knew that Balenciaga had a long and dignified one, and created unique and lovely pieces in the 1950's, but I found his humble beginnings inspiring.
I am now your newest blog follower :)

Ken said...

it's ok, but i'm not hyping over this

مى said...

I like this!

Couture Carrie said...

Fabulous bio and pics, darling!
Love those shoes too!


Anonymous said...

Fe, I love your blog.
It makes me smile.
I learn a lot from coming here.
I hope you are having a great weekend.



What a wonderful story. I adore Balenciaga. My City has been my staple for years now :)

Anonymous said...

Absolutely love this collection. Balenciaga is always the best. Can't wait to see full campaign for fall/winter season.