ICONS: Cristóbal Balenciaga “The only authentic couturier”

ICONS: Cristóbal Balenciaga “The only authentic couturier”

ICONS: Cristóbal Balenciaga “The only authentic couturier”

Discover the individuals that, like Cristóbal Balenciaga, have shaped the Firm’s creative director and designer’s aesthetics, philosophy and work in the series ICONS.

Paco Rabanne, André Courrèges, Emanuel Ungaro, Hubert de Givenchy or Óscar de la Renta have more in common than being key figures of the XXth century fashion. They are also united by the fact that all of them were formed as dressmakers in Cristóbal Balenciaga’s atelier.

Phenomenons such as the democratization of fashion and the spread of youth culture in the 1960s were battles that the Haute Couture creator could not win. This ineitably led to his retirement in 1968. However, the brand was acquired in the late 1980s. And the rest of the second Balenciaga is history. But the Balenciaga of today has little to do with the vision of fashion and elegance of the Basque creator. Nonetheless, it is the values ​​of innovation and disruption that unite these two universes.

Among the legacy of Cristóbal Balenciaga are his iconic very structured pieces, groundbreaking for the time. The sack dress, the balloon dress, the cocoon coat dress or the kimono sleeve coat are just some examples. The hardness of his lines contrasted with the kindest and more traditional femininity of his contemporaries. His concern for mastering textiles and developping sculptural volumes made the lightweight yet rigid silk gazar stand out among his favorite materials.

Another of the most outstanding aspects of the creator’s work, which links to the sculptural and volumetric, are the interior construction elements of his garments. The couturier used and developped all kinds of interlinings, covers, leads, shoulder pads, reinforcements, clamps, embeds, stretches, pittings… Elements that together with the very studied distribution of the loads of the fabric, provided consistency and volume. Yet gave fall and flexibility to his designs.

Cristóbal Balenciaga was “the master of us all”, in the words of another fashion icon of the era, Christian Dior. Also Coco Chanel, not very given to making friends and free praises, said he was the only authentic couturier. Unlike his contemporaries, he was able to design, cut, assemble and sew a dress from beginning to end. In his own words: “A good couturier should be: an architect for patterns, sculptor for form, painter for drawings, musician for harmony, and philosopher for measure.” summarize perfectly his vision of the trade.

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