Balenciaga is a French luxury fashion house founded by Cristóbal Balenciaga, a Spanish designer. Cristóbal himself gained a reputation as a couturier of uncompromising standards and was referred to as “the master of us all” by Christian Dior himself.
Balenciaga started out as a couture house in Paris in 1937, opening his studio on Avenue George V, with his debut runway show featuring designs heavily influenced by the Spanish Renaissance. Thanks to his avant-garde thinking which reflected in all of his creations, his success in Paris was immediate.
Within two years, the French press lauded him as a revolutionary, and his designs were highly sought-after, with Carmel Snow, the editor of Harper’s Bazaar being the champion of his work. By 1951 he has completely reinvented the somewhat mainstream Dior’s ‘New Look’ silhouette, by broadening the shoulders and removing the waistline. In the years to follow he introduced shapes used by most fashion houses now such as high-waisted baby-doll dresses, the cocoon shapes, sack dresses and balloon skirts. Post WWII he became a true revolutionary in his use of fabrics; he tended toward heavy fabrics, intricate embroidery, and bold materials. His trademarks included, “…collars that stood away from the collarbone to give a swan-like appearance and shortened bracelet sleeves”.
Having not only become the master of couture himself, Balenciaga raised a successful army of protégées, who we know and love now – including Oscar De La Renta and Givenchy. The fashion house has seen five creative directors come and go in it’s 80 years, but somehow each new kid on the block sticks to the aesthetic and the signature look of Balenciaga’s original designs. Which, we can see from the frocks hanging on the rails at the Mount Street flagship store in Mayfair, London, which are nearly identical to the ones on the first Parisian runways back in the 1940s.
Balenciaga is so iconic, that it has been displayed in the fashion section of the V&A museum in London for many years. Currently (and until February 2018) the museum is hosting a tribute to the designer by displaying 100 of his (and the fashion house’s) masterpieces, as well as lectures and masterclasses throughout the summer months. (For more details visit www.vam.ac.uk)
The House of Balenciaga is responsible for many memorable red carpet looks. With the likes of Kirsten Stewart and Jennifer Connelly as the faces of the house, it’s not surprising. Nicole Kidman is a huge fan of the brand too; in fact Balenciaga made her wedding dress when she married current husband, Keith Urban.
So, now let’s take a look at the Top 5 Red Carpet Moments from Balenciaga thus celebrating the innovation and craftsmanship of this fashion house.
Celebrities in Balenciaga
Nicole Kidman wore the iconic floor sweeping Balenciaga red dress to the Academy Awards in 2007. Who could forget those thigh high splits and an oversized bow?! Nicely done Nicolas Ghesquière!