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20 Sep

Fashion Stories: Cristobal Balenciaga

Fashion Stories: Cristobal Balenciaga

Dear Readers,

London Fashion Week just ended a couple of days ago and being a true lover of the fashion I did enjoy the majority of the catwalks shows but awaited more. Hopefully, the Paris Fashion Week that will start next week will be of a higher volume and bright. In Paris, most of the famous houses will present – CHANEL, Balenciaga, Hermès, Valentino, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, Stella McCartney, Shiatzychen, Vivienne Westwood, Valentin Yudashkin and many others (26th of September – 2nd of October). However, I would like to continue with the life stories of legendary people that have contributed to the style and fashion of today.

I decided to share with you the history of one of my favorite and world-famous brands – Balenciaga. Cristobal Balenciaga is considered one of the main innovators in the fashion world. Trends, which the young designer from Spain introduced 40-50 years ago, are still used by many world famous designers today.

Cristobal Balenciaga created his own brand in 1914, and in 1918 opened his first boutique in San Sebastian when he was just 16 years old. Later, the boutiques of the same brand expanded to Madrid and Barcelona. The popularity was instant and already at that time Balenciaga dresses were preferred by members of the Spanish Royal Family.

The beginning of the civil in 1936 in Spain forced to stop his activities at home and leave everything behind and move to Paris. In August 1937, Cristobal Balenciaga opened his own fashion house in Paris, on Avenue George V. His collection, which was shown shortly after the opening, characterized the design inspired by the Renaissance in Spain. The success of the fashion young designer in Paris was again almost instantaneous.

Balenciaga fashion house has been known and distinguished for magnificent skirts and feminine silhouettes. Couturier was the first one to invent the I-silhouette, a narrow straight style dress, dress-bags or as they are called dress-barrels, which broke all stereotypes about proportions because they did not have a waist. It was also he who created the coat-cocoon, wide jackets with large hoods, trapeze dress, and fashionable hat-boxes.

During the Second World War, the most popular designer’s model was a “square coat” with connected sleeves and pink outfits trimmed with black or black-brown laces. In 1951, Balenciaga changed the silhouette, expanding the shoulders and getting rid of the waist. In 1955 he invented a dress-tunic, which then turned into a dress-shirt (1958). In addition, in the post-war years, the designer created three-dimensional jacket of spherical shape (1953), a baby-waist dress with an inflated waist (1957), a coat-cocoon (1957), a skirt-ball (1957) and a baggy dress (1957). In 1959, Balenciaga released the collection “Empire line”, where dresses with a high waistline and coats resembling kimono were presented.

In 1960, Balenciaga for the first time began to use heavy fabrics, embroidery and other unusual materials. His trademark was the collar-struts, which created the effect of a long, almost swan, neck, and short sleeves-bracelets. In the same year, Cristobal Balenciaga designed a dress for the Queen of Belgium Fabiola. In 1968, the master has closed his fashion house, and in 1972 he died. The brand ceased its development until 1986. Balenciaga was a closed person, who did not like to be interviewed or questioned about his private life.

In 1986, Jacques Bogart acquired the rights of the fashionable Balenciaga House and opened a new line of ready-to-wear Le Dix. The first collection of the reborn brand was designed by Michel Goma in 1987. In 1992, the creative director of the Fashion House was Danish designer Joseph Timister, who launched the process of restoring the brand to the status of the Haute Couture House. In 1992, the designers of Balenciaga developed a form for the participants of the Olympic Games the national team of France. During the rule of Timister to the fashion house joined the young designer Nicolas Gesciere, who in 1997 was appointed a creative director of Balenciaga.

Nowadays, the brand Balenciaga belongs to the Gucci Group, which, in turn, is part of the PPR Group. The women’s and men’s lines of the House are run by Nicolas Gesciere. A fresh interpretation of the creations of Balenciaga, such as a half-fitted jacket and baggy dresses, attracted the attention of the press and celebrities to the designer. For example, Balenciaga is loved by Madonna and Shinneyd O’Conor.

The brand is also known and loved for its bags, which have the design inspired by the motorcycles. The most popular was the “Lariat” model. The fashionable house of Balenciaga is also widely known for its avant-garde, sculptural designs that are on the brink of fashion and literally setting the trend in women’s fashion with Demna Gvasalia as its relatively new creative director. Today, Balenciaga fashion house has the same amount of fame than in the 50’s. I truly love the freedom, comfort, and quality of the brand. Be happy, be free, be Balenciaga!

Thanks for reading me