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26-06-2006
  1
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The Balenciaga Effect




STYLE NOTES: BALENCIAGA
Angel on My Shoulder, Then
Seven years before he relocated to Paris from his native Spain, Cristobal Balenciaga was experimenting with tiers of fabric, which would become a house signature.

A coat trimmed with astrakhan, circa 1930.
Photo: Courtesy of Archives Balenciaga



STYLE NOTES: BALENCIAGA
Angel on My Shoulder, Now
Raw, unfinished edges add a modern touch to this cocktail dress by Roksanda Ilincic, a London up-and-comer with a penchant for Balenciaga-style shapes.
Photo: Marcio Madeira



STYLE NOTES: BALENCIAGA
High Society, Then
Cecil Beaton, who frequently photographed Balenciaga’s great client, Mona von Bismarck, once said that the couturier had “created the future for fashion.” Case in point: this taffeta gown.

A strapless gown in two tones of gray velvet and taffeta with cuffed décolletage, Vogue, 1948.
Photo: Clifford Coffin / Condé Nast Archives



STYLE NOTES: BALENCIAGA
High Society, Now
Call it a case of life imitating art imitating life. The billowing clouds of tulle-covered taffeta that closed Peter Som’s fall show were inspired by the Ascot scene in My Fair Lady. The costume designer on that film? None other than that noted Balenciaga admirer, Cecil Beaton.
Photo: Greg Kessler



STYLE NOTES: BALENCIAGA
Nip and Tuck, Then
A draper par excellence, Balenciaga had a stable of models at his beck and call. His favorite was Colette, she of the broad shoulders and jutting, angular hips. When fitting his tailored suits with signature nipped waists and rounded hips on other girls, he used padding to achieve a fuller silhouette. The wishbone buttoning on this 1950 suit accentuates the model’s hourglass shape.

Model wearing single-breasted skirt suit with wishbone buttoning by Balenciaga, Vogue, 1950.
Photo: Irving Penn / Condé Nast Archives



STYLE NOTES: BALENCIAGA
Nip and Tuck, Now
After a slim, streamlined spring show, Alber Elbaz threw a curveball for fall, experimenting with hip padding in his latest Lanvin collection.
Photo: Marcio Madeira



STYLE NOTES: BALENCIAGA
Puff Piece, Then
As Vogue put it in 1951, this black silk-cloque suit with V collar and quite-straight skirt is “a quiet buildup for the elegance of the great cuffs.”

Pneumatic cuffs, Vogue, 1951
Photo: Henry Clarke / Condé Nast Archives



STYLE NOTES: BALENCIAGA
Puff Piece, Now
At Bryan Bradley’s Tuleh, the oversized cuffs Balenciaga introduced have migrated from just below the elbow to the shoulder.
Photo: Marcio Madeira



STYLE NOTES: BALENCIAGA
Pop Goes the Bubble, Then
This look from 1951—the year after Balenciaga unveiled his balloon dresses—owes its poufy shape to that enormous sash.

Model wearing Balenciaga’s black tissue-paper taffeta dress tied with a ballooning sash, Vogue, 1951.
Photo: Henry Clarke / Condé Nast Archives



STYLE NOTES: BALENCIAGA
Pop Goes the Bubble, Now
No slouch at folding and tucking, Marc Jacobs achieves a similar, if deliberately less grand, effect at Louis Vuitton.
Photo: Style.com


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26-06-2006
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STYLE NOTES: BALENCIAGA
Ace Up the Sleeve, Then
Bows were classic Balenciaga. Rendered here in white satin, they stand out in sharp relief against the black wool of a wide-collared dress.

The bowknot satin sleeves Balenciaga loved, these on a two-piece black wool dress, Vogue, 1953.
Photo: John Rawlings / Condé Nast Archives



STYLE NOTES: BALENCIAGA
Ace Up the Sleeve, Now
Australian-born, London-based designer Richard Nicoll wowed the crowd at his solo debut with leg-of-mutton shirts reminiscent of the master’s.
Photo: Marcio Madeira



STYLE NOTES: BALENCIAGA
Spot On, Then
“A fashion designer must be an architect for perspectives, a sculptor for shapes, a painter for color, a musician for harmony, and a philosopher for a sense of proportion,” said Balenciaga. In 1958, he drew upon his many gifts to produce this polka-dot taffeta peacock-tail evening dress.

White taffeta dress with black spots, featuring a bunched skirt inspired by a Spanish gypsy costume, spring 1958.
Photo: Kublin / Courtesy of Archives Balenciaga



STYLE NOTES: BALENCIAGA
Spot On, Now
Oscar de la Renta’s bubble dress evokes Balenciaga’s version of nearly 50 years ago in both fabric and form.
Photo: Don Ashby



STYLE NOTES: BALENCIAGA
Cocoon Chic, Then
A loose-fitting, voluminous coat showcases the elegance and precision of Balenciaga’s coupe, or cut. Note the swing back (reminiscent of a Spanish toreador’s cape), integral arms, and short sleeves—the better to show off jewelry or, in this case, elbow-length gloves.

Model wearing a Balenciaga coat, summer 1961.
Photo: Kublin / Courtesy of Archives Balenciaga



STYLE NOTES: BALENCIAGA
Cocoon Chic, Now
Nicolas Ghesquière has traded in the heavy cloth preferred by his predecessor for leather, but this coat’s round shape, standaway collar, and hip seam are otherwise unchanged.
Photo: Marcio Madeira



STYLE NOTES: BALENCIAGA
Birds of a Feather, Then
Balenciaga’s day dresses and suits were deceptively simple, but there was no ignoring his evening numbers, embellished as they were with such extravagances as mother-of-pearl and jet. His passion for ornamentation yielded this sumptuous pink ostrich-plume gown in 1966.

Jayne Wrightsman wearing a dress covered entirely with ostrich plumes by Balenciaga, Vogue, 1966.
Photo: Cecil Beaton / Condé Nast Archives



STYLE NOTES: BALENCIAGA
Birds of a Feather, Now
The usually austere Ralph Rucci of Chado added an element of whimsy to his latest couture collection with this bubble-skirted frock covered in ostrich plumes.
Photo: Marcio Madeira



STYLE NOTES: BALENCIAGA
Backstory, Then
With its “smothers of ruffles” framing a bare back, this chartreuse organza dress from Balenciaga’s colorful penultimate collection has a bit of Goya in it.

A Helmut Newton photograph from Vogue, 1968
Photo: Helmut Newton / Condé Nast Archives



STYLE NOTES: BALENCIAGA
Backstory, Now
Giambattista Valli, who was formerly the creative director at Emanuel Ungaro, who in turn apprenticed under Balenciaga, closes the loop with this ruffle-backed sheath.
Photo: Don Ashby


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26-06-2006
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thanks for posting this...

i admit that i have a total balenciaga fixation...
ever since the very first pictures of the clothes that i saw...
his 'look' remains iconic and chic and modern...
in a class by himself..

one of the truly great designers of all time...

...

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26-06-2006
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lovely.

wish i could give you more karma, avant garde.

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26-06-2006
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Exquiste...

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26-06-2006
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It has absolutely created an effect, esp. recent years. U can see even Central St. Martins students got inspiration from it.

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26-06-2006
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thanks avant garde
it is amazing that the silhouettes created back in his time are still widely used and considered chic, it really confirms the significant impact he had/has on the industry.
makes me wonder though if the modern day examples were consciously referencing balenciaga or not?
or is it just that his 'look' is now so universal that it is bound to be used in ways that are not necessairly referencing him?

the wishbone buttoning on the 1950 suit is brilliant..

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26-06-2006
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Extravagantly amazing...

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26-06-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by softgrey
thanks for posting this...

i admit that i have a total balenciaga fixation...
ever since the very first pictures of the clothes that i saw...
his 'look' remains iconic and chic and modern...
in a class by himself..

one of the truly great designers of all time...

...
Your welcome

He is truly a classic, and was ahead of the times. His designs work well in the present and will continue to be used in the future.

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26-06-2006
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It's amazing how some fashion just looks right for today constantly. He created such beautiful pieces. Thank you for sharing.

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sounds like "dirty European aristocracy".....

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27-06-2006
  11
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yes he did , that is why Nicole kidman is gonna married in One of his creation...

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27-06-2006
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yes it's lovely to see things like this where you can see what an impact and visionnaire he was. he had an AMAZING eye and craftsmanship was exquisite. Such beautiful pieces and such an understanding of women's bodies and clothing Thanks for this

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27-06-2006
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#1 thanks for pictures
these days i am obsessed with balenciaga

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23-08-2006
  14
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Balenciaga has the WEIRDEST stuff ever! But thyre so weird its awesome. Balenciaga is definately one of my top favorite designers. Beautiful.

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24-08-2006
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The Balenciaga exhibition in Paris can be viewed online at the Balenciaga.com site. It has much improved since the first days, with lots of information and images.

http://www.balenciaga.com/#Id=/Video/FilmExhibition

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