Passionate Fashion Designer/Bartender/Adventurer & Backpacker
Cristóbal Balenciaga - a name in fashion world that doesn't require introduction but I know that not everyone is a fashion nerd like me so here we go:
He opened his fashion house in 1917 in Spain. In 1936 he moved his entire studio to Paris and worked alongside with such a fashion giants as Christian Dior, Givenchy and Coco Chanel. He has trained and influenced many famous designers that are well-known nowadays. He was a very private person and has given only one interview. That very well reflects in exhibition in Victoria and Albert (V&A) museum in London I visited recently.
It was more about the clothes and Balenciaga’s great contribution to the fashion industry, less about the personality and inner world of the designer.
I wanted to talk about my visit to the exhibition "Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion." The first few minutes spent in the room are really uplifting. I felt like I have entered the world’s most beautiful dress parade ever. It reminded me of a scene from Gone with the winds when Scarlet Ohara needs a new dress and she just rips off the green curtains and makes it. These dresses are a work of art. Construction and Silhouettes look so modern that you can still find replicas of that in high street stores.
One of the most interesting pieces of information that I found in exhibition was the way of how Balenciaga began his design development. It turns out that his secret is the starting point, which is the fabric. "It is the fabric that decides," he used to say. For me, the beginning of design development has always been the most difficult part but I think his approach is something that I will take with me and try to use for my next design project.
Dresses, dresses, dresses! Every little girl has always dreamt to wear something like this.
My favourite dress of all time was 'Baby Doll' dresses (1958). It reminded me of Audrey Hepburn’s elegance and Madonna's playfulness. Going through my clothes I even realised that last year I purchased Zara version of "Baby Doll" dresses.
I find it very fascinating that it’s been 60 years and everyone still loves it.
Exploring the exhibition further I really enjoyed the 2nd floor part of it that included other designers’ work that has been influenced by Balenciaga. Going back to "Baby dolls" dress there was displayed a dress by one of my favourite contemporary London designers Molly Goddard and her version on this iconic dress. Of course, there are other designers that have been influenced by Balenciaga, for example, Rick Owen, J.W. Anderson, Rei Kawakubo and others.
In conclusion, I used to follow the Balenciaga fashion house when my favourite designer Alexander Wang was a creative director and I thought his work with archives is something authentic and different from what he is doing in his own brand. His summer spring collection 2015 was a huge influence for my first collection pre-fall 2016. So I haven't really paid attention to new cative directors work - Demna Gvasalia’s but after this exhibition, I did my research on what’s going on at Balenciaga and I have to say he is taking the brand into next decade out of classic, into modern age something so edgy and cool. We will definitely see an exhibition Demna Gvaslia revolutionizing the fashion in 2020. The name of the exhibition couldn't be more suitable. Without Balenciaga fashion nowadays wouldn't be the same. What I didn’t know before visiting this exhibition is that many of my favourite designers are taking inspiration from Cristobal Balenciaga and his heritage is helping fashion
Photo: Cristóbal Balenciaga at work, 1968, Paris, France. Photograph by Henri Cartier-Bresson. ©
Illustrations: Anna Keomegi