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10-08-2006
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I found this through Google Images:


medias.francetv.fr

Unfortunately there was no background information on the piece.

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10-08-2006
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thanks for those! i love balenciaga. the very esoteric and unusual proportions and texture of his clothes clearly pioneered fashion . one of the (worthy) greats. really amazing creations. love them!

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11-08-2006
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I read about Cristóbal Balenciaga's works in this book titled "Fashion Memoir: Balenciaga" ... and I must say, I was very amazed. All of his creations, no matter how original and unique in shape, fitted the body perfectly. There were no unsightly crinkles - it was so impeccable that the clothing indeed belonged to no one but whoever was wearing them. He was definitely worth the high esteem that another great couturier, Christian Dior (indeed, THE Christian Dior himself), accorded him. I read in the book (this is an approximation of the exact story; I do not remember the details) that when Cristóbal Balenciaga once announced that he would quit fashion, Christian Dior pleaded for him not to.

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11-08-2006
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Amazing photos.

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12-08-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdanChrysler
I read in the book (this is an approximation of the exact story; I do not remember the details) that when Cristóbal Balenciaga once announced that he would quit fashion, Christian Dior pleaded for him not to.
Oh he was really worshipped. By the fashion world and the best dressed women in the world (who were his clients). I read another similar anecdote: one of his most faithful client, an aristocrat of some sort, literally mourned for several months after he retreated, remaining secluded and miserable at her home and exclusively wearing Black outfits (designed by Balenciaga of course).

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20-08-2006
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US Harper's Bazaar
January 2006


web2.unt.edu

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20-08-2006
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Tea Fashions; By Balenciaga; Evening Coat; Spanish Frills


Balenciaga Coat;
Balenciaga's Toulouse-Lautrec Inspired Designs


French model; Fashion model showing polka dotted smock top


Balenciaga & Snow In Showroom,
Cristobal Balenciaga; Mrs. Carmel Snow


Balenciaga & Snow Shopping Together


Cristobal Balenciaga


Source: gettyimages.com


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20-08-2006
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One more of Mr. Balenciaga.


Source: gettyimages.com

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20-08-2006
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Does anybody know what is meant by the double-dress construction that is being refered as a Balenciaga trademark?

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20-08-2006
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is cristobal balenciaga alive

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20-08-2006
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To answer your question sosneha,

Quote:
The modern look that he created has been sustained by André Courrèges and Emanuel Ungaro, who both apprenticed at his atelier, and by Hubert de Givenchy, among others. Balenciaga died on March 24, 1972, at home in his beloved Spain. A longtime client offered a fitting epitaph: "Women did not have to be perfect or even beautiful to wear his clothes. His clothes made them beautiful.
Source: metmuseum.org

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21-08-2006
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source: vam.ac.uk

Quote:
Born in the Basque region of Spain, Balenciaga was apprenticed to a tailor from the age of twelve. In 1914 he opened the House of Balenciaga in San Sebastian, where most of his clients were aristocrats. After the Spanish monarchy was deposed in the 1930s, Balenciaga moved to Paris. Here he became known for dramatic black coats and dresses which recalled Spanish fashions of the Elizabethan age.

Balenciaga was an extremely private man who gave few interviews. He is often called a 'designer's designer', since some knowledge of tailoring is needed to fully appreciate his clothes. He preferred to work with firm, stiff fabrics which gave his clothing a sculptural appearance. His 1960 sack dress was much copied by other designers.

The House of Balenciaga, typical of the Paris fashion world, had many wealthy customers. However, it was severely challenged in the 1960s, as fashionable young people bought ready-to-wear clothing instead of couture. Symbolically, Balenciaga closed down his fashion house in 1968, a year of violent political protests in Paris. Nonetheless, in training both Courrèges and Ungaro, Balenciaga continued to influence radically different 1960s fashion.
Quote:

Evening gown and cape of black gazar
Designed by Balenciaga, Paris, 1960s
T.292-1990


This evening ensemble shows Balenciaga's talent for cutting clothes in dramatic, sculpted shapes. These minimalist garments resemble the religious vestments of the Spanish Catholic Church. The only decoration is the artificial flowers at the hem of the dress and the collar of the cape. Gazar is a thick silk fabric with a stiff finish, specially created for Balenciaga by the textile firm Abraham of Switzerland.
From 1956, Balenciaga refused to show his clothes publicly at the same time as the other Parisian couturiers. This was because his designs were inevitably copied before he had finished making them up for his private clients. This dress and cape contain the 'Eisa' label, the Spanish branch of the House of Balenciaga, named after the designer's mother.


Given by Ava Gardner
Quote:


'Amphora' black silk evening gown
Designed by Balenciaga, Paris, 1960
T.22-1974


By 1960 the high-waisted empire line was beginning to fall out of fashion. Yet Balenciaga's reputation meant that he could afford to create classic garments which ignored mere trends. Black was a favourite colour for the designer who was inspired by the costumes in the paintings of Velásquez and Goya.
This black, strapless evening dress is made of poult, a heavy, ribbed silk fabric. The skirt is caught up at the back to achieve a 'hobble' effect and finished with a large sash. Its name 'amphora' refers to a container used in Ancient Greece and Rome for holding liquids, so describes the shape of the dress.


Worn and given by Mrs. Loel Guinness
Quote:

Dress
Cristobal Balenciaga
Paris, France
1959-60
Museum no. T.90-1973


Balenciaga began to experiment with the sack dress during the fifties. The simple, loose style was the opposite of the more common nipped-in waist of that era and looked forward to the 1960s shift dress.
This dress made of black wool is round-necked and has sleeves cut in one with the yoke. It has centre, front and back seams, side panels and diagonal pockets. It fastens at the back with a zip and is lined with black silk.
Quote:

Navy wool and silk suit
Designed by Balenciaga, Paris, about 1964
T.127+A-1982


Hat of velvet trimmed straw
By Elfriede Ltd., London, early 1960s


This understated ensemble reveals Balenciaga's talents as a cutter. The jacket has magyar sleeves, cut in one piece with the front section. Like many of his garments, it has a loose fit. The open collar and the waist are designed to flatter an elegant, mature woman.
The slightly flared skirt consists of four panels gently gathered into the waistband and it fastens at the side with a zip. Balenciaga's clothes were equipped with minimum fastenings to make them as easy to put on as possible.


Worn by Opal Holt and given by Mrs. D.M. Haynes and Mrs. M. Clark
Quote:

Pink matelassé trouser suit
Designed by Balenciaga, Paris, 1966
T.35-1974

As with his 'sack' dress, Balenciaga employed the tunic to take the focus away from the waistline. This looser garment allowed for freedom of movement and became an item of both men's and women's clothing. The tunic of this outfit is hip length with two front lapels and has a round neck and three-quarter length sleeves.
Western women adopted trousers as everyday wear for the first time during the sixties. These trousers taper towards the ankles and fasten at the side. The outfit is made from matelassé, a fabric with two layers of cloth and a quilted surface.

Worn and given by Countess Bismarck

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21-08-2006
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source: vintagetextile.com


Quote:

Balenciaga silk gazar evening gown
Label: "Balenciaga/10 Ave. George V/Paris."
Exhibited at the Balenciaga Retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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21-08-2006
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source: meadowsmuseumdallas.org

Quote:

Detail of Balenciaga evening gown of black silk with black mink trim.
Gift of Claudia Heard de Osborne
Courtesy of the Texas Fashion Collection
Photo by Michael Bodycomb

Quote:

Balenciaga ball gown of pink silk taffeta with white lace 1955.
Gift of Claudia Heard de Osborne
Courtesy of the Texas Fashion Collection
Photo by Michael Bodycomb
Quote:

Balenciaga pillbox hat of black velvet with white feather and jewel ornament c. 1955.
Gift of Claudia Heard de Osborne
Courtesy of the Texas Fashion Collection
Photo by Michael Bodycomb

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31-08-2006
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A love affair about Balenciaga
Copyright 2006 Newspaper Publishing PLC
All Rights Reserved
The Independent (London)

June 28, 2006 Wednesday
First Edition

SECTION: FEATURES; Pg. 1

LENGTH: 2295 words

HEADLINE: Balenciaga: a love affair;
For fashion's most dedicated followers, the name Balenciaga was revered above all others. For the teenage Susannah Frankel, it was simply the name on the label of a borrowed dress. Now, as the great Spanish designer's work is celebrated in a major retrospective, The Independent's fashion editor reflects on how his artistry came to define haute couture - and how it shaped her life

BYLINE: By Susannah Frankel

BODY:


When I was no more than 18 years old a good friend offered to lend me one of her grandmother's dresses to wear to a summer party. The lady in question was of the old guard, always impeccably dressed, if only in the supremely understated way that was favoured by those of that generation and to the manor born. By day, she was strictly a tweed jacket and skirt character. In the evening...well, she bought her clothes in Paris, investing in what I was to realise only later was some of the finest haute couture.

It started off badly. My friend (Emma) presented me with a crumpled heap of rustling black silks that had clearly been stuffed unceremoniously into the back of her wardrobe for years: the pungent aroma of naphthalene filled the air. I rifled through the unkempt and unloved garments, my heart sinking. Then I fell upon one in particular. I knew, instantly, that this dress was destined to be mine.

Crafted entirely in black, it came right up to the throat at the front, had soft, rounded shoulders and perfectly crafted sleeves that were narrow but somehow still entirely comfortable. The only embellishment was a tiny row of covered buttons that fastened the dress tight to the waist from behind. It then ballooned over the hips and fell, echoing the line of the bloom of an upturned tulip, to just below the knee.

The overall effect was austere, monastic even, and certainly too covered up and overly rounded to be obviously "flattering". This was the 1980s, and although at the time the Japanese designers Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo of Commedes Garons were making waves in London by enveloping the intelligentsia from head to toe in inky black, it was still not a colour often worn by the young. And so began the long line of Spanish widow jokes that still follow me to this day. Not that I cared (and I still don't, for that matter). I loved that dress. I loved it for its elegance, its uncompromising severity and refusal to bow to fashion's obsession with ostentatious displays of wealth or slender androgyny. On a girl of such tender age, it looked more than a little incongruous, decidedly haute over and above cool, weird even, and I liked that, too. I would have been more enamoured of this quietly lovely garment still, had I realised the significance of the label hand-sewn into the back of it. It was not until a good 10 years had passed that I understood quite how sartorially discerning its modest owner had been. The dress had been conceived by fashion history's most revered name. Balenciaga.

Cristobal Balenciaga. Whisper it, because, in fashion circles, there is no more hallowed moniker. Even the famously serpent-tongued Coco Chanel - who once called Christian Dior, perhaps not entirely unreasonably, a "madman" - said of her contemporary: "Balenciaga alone is a couturier in the truest sense of the word. Only he is capable of cutting material, assembling a creation and sewing it by hand. The others are simply fashion designers." Her sworn enemy, the retrogressive and flagrantly starry Dior, was equally fulsome in his praise, describing Balenciaga as "master of us all". The tag caught on. From that day on, Balenciaga was described as "the master" by all those who care about such things. If Chanel was the arbiter of women's style as we know it, Dior gave the world the New Look and, later, Yves Saint Laurent interpreted culture both high and low to hugely innovative effect, Balenciaga was fashion's ultimate purist. He applied to his work the theoretical rigour of an architect, and the emotional intensity of a fine artist. The iconic designs of Hubert de Givenchy, meanwhile, whose little black dresses were worn by everyone from Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to -most famously - Audrey Hepburn, were, in fact, indebted to Balenciaga almost to the point of plagiarism.

Next month, a retrospective of the elusive Basque couturier's work will be shown at Les Arts Decoratifs, La MusZe de la Mode et du Textile in Paris. To coincide with the exhibition, Thames & Hudson is publishing an appropriately glossy and suitably scholarly tome on the house, from its beginnings in 1937 to the present day. The show opens on the eve of the autumn/winter 2006 haute couture season and is the undisputed hot ticket. It's small wonder that fashionable hearts have been set aflutter. Until five years ago, although every self-respecting fashion museum the world over is in possession of at least some vintage Balenciaga, all that appeared to remain of this fashion deity's oeuvre under the house's own roof was a damp roomful of badly stored clothing and a few sketches. It is testimony to the determination of Nicolas Ghesquire, the 35-year-old Frenchman who designs Balenciaga today and has put this great label back on the fashion map, that a respectable archive has now been collated. Ghesquire has co-curated the Paris show.

"Balenciaga was the master of modernity, experimentation, abstraction," Ghesquire explains. "The silhouette, those organic shapes, he did them long before anybody else. The clothes are pure to the point of being plain, but also completely radical. You can really see that there was absolutely no room for compromise."

What little is known about the early years of Cristobal Balenciaga is as fol. He was born on 21 January, 1895, in etaria in the Basque region of Spain. His their, Jose Balenciaga Basurto, was a sea fisherman and mayor of Guetaria until Cristobal was born. His mother, in a Eizaguirre Embil, was a seams who took on sewing jobs from hol-akers in the area. He had one sister and one brother. Although Cristobal had no formal training, in 1918 he founded his first fashion business in Spain, regy travelling to Paris to learn about the dustry as a buyer. But it wasn't until st 20 years later, in 1937, that he debuted on the Paris circuit, opening his couture house behind the restrained Neo-classical faade of 10 avenue George V in the 8th arrondissement.

"Enter the new year in a black, wool crpe dress by Balenciaga, the Spanish designer, with a swathed belt so wide it fools you into thinking the dress has a tunic," read the pages of Vogue in January the following year. Just months after the first collection was shown, Harper's Bazaar was more excitable, describing Balenciaga's little black dresses thus. "Here the black is so black that it hits you like a blow. Thick Spanish black, almost velvety, a night without stars which makes ordinary black seem almost grey..." By February 1939, Balenciaga was the show to see and be seen attending in Paris. "MEN AND WOMEN FIGHT AT ADRESS SHOW: RUSHDOORS LIKE 'FOOTBALL CROWD'" screamed London's Daily Express.

While the likes of Dior and Chanel would later revel in such hysteria, for the shy and fiercely private Balenciaga, a man who was rarely photographed and almost never stooped to anything so low as a face-to-face interview, it was nothing short of offensive. He retired behind the closed doors of his salon, watching his twice-yearly shows through a tiny hole in a white silk curtain and working in a studio with covered windows to protect himself and his designs from the paparazzi. He never attended fittings, however monied or famous the client, and refused to alter a dress to suit anything but a customer's size. Her taste was irrelevant, and if she was unhappy with anything she had better shop elsewhere. The Balenciaga salon ran in silence and was presided over by the formidable Mademoiselle RenZe, who once, when a client asked that an interested friend of hers be sent an invitation to a show, replied: "Curious women are not welcome here."

As perhaps is the way of such things, the more Balenciaga eschewed the spotlight, the more heated the response to his work became. "He was the greatest dressmaker who ever lived," said Diana Vreeland, fashion editor atHarp-er's Bazaar during Balenciaga's glory years. "Those were the days when people dressed for dinner, and I mean dressed - not just changed their clothes. If a woman came in in a Balenciaga dress, no other woman in the room existed." Here she is again describing the experience of attending a Balenciaga show in her fted memoirs. "One fainted," the lady, admittedly rarely prone to understatement, opines. "I remember at one show... Audrey Hepburn turned up and asked me why I wasn't frothing at the mouth at what I was seeing. I told her I was trying to act calm and detached because, after all, I was a member of the press. Across the way Gloria Guinness was sliding out of her chair on to the floor. Everyone was going up in foam and thunder."

The photographers of that era were not quite so forgiving in their reaction to the controlling world that Balenciaga built up around himself. While both Irving Penn and Richard Avedon loved the architectural drama of Balenciaga's work, they were less impressed by the couturier's insistence that they shoot his clothes only on models of his choosing. The models were resolutely haughty but by no means always beautiful, and as a result, many of the iconic images of the master's work are shot from behind or even with the models' heads cropped off entirely.

Throughout the 1940s, 50s and 60s, Cristobal Balenciaga reigned over French fashion like a colossus. He gave the world the sack dress, the tunic, loose-and-softly skirt-suits with dropped shoulders and much more, all of which he executed with mathematical precision. It is the stuff of legend that he was particularly obsessed with the search for the perfect sleeve, always the most technically challenging element of a garment. For Balenciaga, this quest was based on a geometrical equation using a set-square, a ruler and a "magic" number. The secret went with him to his grave.

By the late 1960s fashion had moved on, and Balenciaga, a couturier in the truest sense of the word (in each collection a garment was shown that had been created entirely by his own hand) was uncomfortable with the dawn of ready-to-wear. Although he sold more reasonably priced versions of his work to American buyers, he refused ever to mass produce. "Why," he once said, "should I prostitute my art?" For the next 20 years, the Balenciaga label languished in obscurity. It wasn't until Ghesquire (who was born one year before Balenciaga died) arrived on the scene that it was truly to revive. Ghesquire, who trained with Jean Paul Gaultier, among others, began life at Balenciaga on a freelance basis, working on less-than-glamorous Japanese licenses that included golf-wear and, more bizarrely still, widows' weeds. "The sleeve had to be a certain length, there had to be a little hood..." he once told me. In 1997, however, he was given a six-month contract to design the main line. "My idea was: it's a Sleeping Beauty. I had to think: how are we going to wake it up?" The answer, of course, owed more than a little to the grand Balenciaga heritage. Ghesquire began by establishing his own signature, but always referencing Balenciaga originals. Today, and now recognised as perhaps the most gifted designer of his generation, he is more confident and more openly inspired by Cristobal's work. In his hands, the profile of the first great status label has slowly been raised. Now owned by the Gucci Group, it is once more a hugely credible entity in its own right.

Ghesquire not only embraces the uncompromising rigour of Cristobal's approach to design (the clothes that come out of Balenciaga today remain challenging, to say the least, and often ahead of themselves) but is also proudly elusive. He, too, rarely agrees to interviews and only deigns to lend clothes to those he feels understand his work. Balenciaga's twice-yearly womens wear shows, equally, are so small - limited to 100 people when it is today not uncommon for there to be 2,000 in attendance elsewhere - that fashionable noses are routinely put out of joint. "I understand that it upsets people," Ghesquire has said, "but it is not a question of generosity, it is a question of holding the information and the clothes we have for the people we are working with' of giving them priority."

As perhaps the ultimate homage to his great predecessor, each piece of Ghesquire's forthcoming autumn/winter ready-to-wear collection pays lip service to one of Cristobal Balenciaga's own designs. "I was very focused on the fact that every outfit had to have a link with the house's history," the designer says. "It could be the fabric. It could be volume, the shape, the print, a hat, the buttons... Because I was working on this exhibition when I designed the collection, I really couldn't think of anything else. All my time was spent looking at original documentation and editingthe pieces, and all that was so inspiring."

Ghesquire is now in his 10th year at Balenciaga. "When I arrived," he says, "it was full of ghosts - good and bad. Some people refused even to acknowledge me. And because what remained of Cristobal Balenciaga was such a treasure - is such a treasure -maybe they thought I would do something disrespectful. Of course, that was never my intention." Instead, the patrimony of the house and the legacy of a man who Ghesquire openly describes as "really very strange" now finally appears to be in safe hands. Even the master himself would approve.

He never attended fittings, however monied the client, and refused to alter a dress to suit anything but a customer's size'

'He was the greatest ever. If a woman came in in a Balenciaga dress, no other woman in the room existed'

"Balenciaga Paris" is at Les Arts Decoratifs, MusZe De La Mode et du Textile from July 6. Balenciaga Paris, edited by Pamela Golbin, art direction by Fabien Baron, is published by Thames & Hudson on 31 July, priced pounds 48. To buy it for the special price of pounds 43 (including p&p), cal Independent Books Direct on 08700798 897

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