Balenciaga, a fashion icon.
Elegant, sculptural and sophisticated: that's how Balenciaga's universe, could be summed up, a house of design that, for almost 100 years now, has been making its unique mark on fashion history. From its must-have it bags to its statement dresses, suits and balloon skirts, going through experimental phases with all-things perfume, the Spanish label is fond of finding a fresh take on itself with each new season.
Balenciaga, conductor of the orchestra that is haute couture.
"He's the only one of us who's a real dressmaker" is what Coco Chanel used to say about Cristóbal Balenciaga. As for Christian Dior, he liked philosophising, claiming that "haute couture was like an orchestra, and that Balenciaga was the orchestra's conductor". Founded in 1918, the Madrid label met with immediate success, its founder becoming designer to Queen María Cristina Princess Isabel Alfonsa of Spain at the beginning of the roaring twenties. After setting up in France to escape the Spanish Civil War, the label found itself dressing anyone who was anyone in post-war Paris. Then, in 1936 its first haute couture collection came out at 10 Avenue George-V, where the designer had chosen to locate his workshops.
Since 1997, the year of designer Nicolas Ghesquière's arrival at Balenciaga, the brand's collection of leather goods has been receiving particular attention, with refined pieces being offered with each new each season that can be seen adorning the likes of Kate Moss, Madonna and Nicole Kidman From the City Classic to the Day, to the First, the Balenciaga codes are instantly recognisable from one statement model to another, with brass finishings or a zipped pocket on the front.
Balenciaga, or the temple of originality.
In 1968, after running his business for a good many years, Cristóbal Balenciaga stood aside, when he found he was no longer in tune with the contemporary morals of the universe of haute couture. In 1997, Nicolas Ghesquière took over as head of the fashion house, simultaneously becoming one of the most followed and influential creative designers of the moment. He was finally replaced in 2012 by Alexander Wang, himself replaced in a very controversial move by anti-conformist Demna Gvasalia in 2015. A true revolutionary in the realm of luxury, he adopted an underground approach, aiming to communicate numerous sociological messages through Balenciaga's different lines.
From launching emblematic collections to inventing delicate cloths like cracknyl and gazar, Balenciaga has made a lasting impression throughout its history. Whether drawing its inspiration from its founder's Hispanic roots, or applying its know-how to working with luxury materials, the couture house has designed numerous iconic pieces, amongst which the following stand out: