Silk organza evening coat with embroidery and beading by Lesage. Balenciaga came up with creative designs that any women canimagine themselves wearing it today.
The baby-doll dress, the shift dress, the raglan sleeve andcocoon coat. The coat depicts the white pearls with the teardrop andpink-feathered shaped sequins throughout the evening wear coat. Paris had ‘a special ambience for fashion’, said Balenciaga.’It contained hundreds of dedicated craftsmen making buttons and flowers andfeathers, and all the trimmings of luxe which could be found nowhere else.’ His clients included the Spanish Royal Family, Grace Kelly,Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy, Cristóbal Balenciaga exceeded the simplemodel of being a popular designer who dressed the stars. It is clear that hisdesigns are an intrinsic link and the backbone to many of the most belovedfashion houses.
He produced designs exclusively for hisuse and to inspire people in his generation and for us to take inspiration aswell. It’s an amazing silk organza evening coat where women in those days wouldwear at an evening out to look elegant and catch fellow audience attention withthe intricate design.Evening dress, silk taffeta stands next to an x-ray image revealing thestructured hoops beneath the silk taffeta skirts. ‘Almost air-borne’ was how Vogue described this historicallyinspired evening dress.
The exhibition mainly features the expertise that had workedbehind the vibrant red dress. Draping of the finest silk fabric, the dress useshoops that is drawn from the centre front seam. The skirt is shaped throughbagging out, which has created the voluminous voids, that fills with air asthey walk.
At the hem there is more details to showcase. Many of his voluminous shapes were intended to join hisSpanish legacy, with different pieces mixed with sections of flamenco and eventraditional Catholic dress.There were amazing stars that wore Balenciaga’s voluminousshape dresses, which included Ava Gardner, Gloria Guinness and Mona vonBismarck, one of the world’s wealthiest ladies at the time, who once purchasedeighty garments in a single season and the connection amongst couturier andclients would often last years. The only reason why V today has showcased over 100pieces of the Spanish designers work, it remarks the influences it has had onmany of his audiences in the past and in the present.
Many viewers have thoughtthe exhibition did a great job but overall its Balenciaga his work is never badit draws the audiences’ attention to admire. Balenciaga, who had trained as a tailor, did not start witha sketch. “It is the fabric that decides,” he said, of the way he “built” adesign. Even looking back today we always work on the stand tocreate a design that we build onto and then create a sketch. The exhibition hadpowerful quotes that was directed at Balenciaga’s ‘Cristobal Balenciaga, thefather of contemporary fashion, is dead, but his influence remains.’ Sometimes, there is nothing to be said but “wow”. Visitingthe exhibition personally the people in the surroundings were amazed and allyou can hear was positive opinions on how the garments were produced anddisplayed remarkably.
I was overwhelmed by the exhibition, even though Balenciagais a big name and people expect much more, looking at it from a fashion studentperspective his entire collection was jaw dropping. His work is so inspiringand you an easily take inspiration.There was a range of his clothes spanning his career andwere displayed thoughtfully. However, there was limited space, small area andso crowded, had to wait to view the display and I couldn’t really spend a lotof time to admire as other people were waiting to view. The second floor showed other designers who were influencedby Balenciaga which was amazing. You can see how they have been inspired by hiswork and the way they have taken inspiration and have created their owninterpretation.
Unlike his fellow friends Dior and Chanel, Balenciaga had atotal mastery of every dressmaking process, from tailoring, cutting and sewing.Balenciaga’s work also introduced hidden sculptural elements that has neverbeen seen on a dress design. However, the exhibition may be quite pricey for a smallexhibit but it is worth going to see, as soon as you go in you will wonder howgood it and understand why the exhibition is overpriced.