Shaping Fashion The Balenciaga Way


“Haute Couture is like an orchestra whose conductor is Balenciaga. We other couturiers are the musicians and we follow the direction he gives.” - Christian Dior


Alberta Tiburzi in 'envelope' dress by Cristóbal Balenciaga, Harper's Bazaar, June 1967 © Hiro 1967

May 27th sees the opening of Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion at the V&A in London.

The exhibition will explore the work of Cristóbal Balenciaga and his continuing influence on modern fashion. It will be the first of its kind to look at his unique approach to making and will showcase pieces by his protégés and contemporary designers working in the same innovative way today. It marks the centenary of the opening of Balenciaga’s first fashion house in San Sebastian and the 80th anniversary of the opening of his famous fashion house in Paris.


Model wearing Balenciaga orange coat as I. Magnin buyers inspect a dinner outfit in the background, Paris, France, 1954 © Mark Shaw, mptvimages.com

Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion will focus on the latter part of the designers long career in the 1950s and 1960s, arguably one of his most creative periods. It was during these years that he not only dressed some of the most renowned women of the time, but also introduced revolutionary shapes including the tunic, the sack, ‘baby doll’ and shift dress – all of which remain style staples today.


Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn wearing coat by Cristóbal Balenciaga, Paris, 1950. Photograph by Irving Penn © Condé Nast, Irving Penn Foundation

Cassie Davies-Strodder, V&A exhibition curator, said: “Cristóbal Balenciaga was one of the most influential fashion designers of the 20th century. Revered by his contemporaries, including Coco Chanel and Hubert de Givenchy, his exquisite craftsmanship, pioneering use of fabric and innovative cutting set the tone for the modernity of the late 20th century fashion. The exhibition will show his lasting impact on fashion through the work of those who trained with him and through recent garments by designers including Molly Goddard, Demna Gvasalia and J.W. Anderson who reflect the legacy of his vision today.”


Dovima with Sacha, cloche and suit by Balenciaga, Café des Deux Magots, Paris, 1955. Photograph by Richard Avedon © The Richard Avedon Foundation

Elise Daniels with street performers, suit by Balenciaga, Le Marais, Paris, 1948. Photograph by Richard Avedon © The Richard Avedon Foundation

#Balenciagaexhibition #VA #ShapingFashion #BalenciagaShapingFashion #CristóbalBalenciaga

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