Cristóbal Balenciaga, L’oeuvre Au Blir

Cristóbal Balenciaga, L'oeuvre Au Blir

Palais Galliera at the Bourdelle Museum presents Balenciaga, L’oeuvre Au Blir, in tribute to Cristóbal Balenciaga, the couturier of the couturiers which is currently ongoing till July 16, 2017. The exhibition is the black work resonating with the black sounds of a sewing alchemist.

From the large plaster hall to the contemporary extension of Portzamparc, through the workshops of Bourdelle, the couturier’s pieces establish a sharp, black-and-white dialogue with this great master of sculpture at the turn of the 20th century.

Black, the irrigation of Balenciaga drawing the roots of his work in the folklore and traditional Spain of his childhood. Black, the taste of the technician extraordinary with its Tonneau (1947), Balloon (1950), Semi-adjusted (1951), Tunic (1955), its famous Dress-bag (1957), the monastic inspirations of the master of which Dior said, “The garment was his religion”.

This first part of the exhibition Silhouette & Volumes is followed by “Blacks and Lights”, as well as “Blacks and Colours”. For at Balenciaga, black, more than a colour or even a non-colour, is a vibrant material, alternately opaque or transparent, matt or glossy, all in games of light which owes as much to the sumptuousness of the fabrics as to the apparent simplicity of its cuts. A lace highlight, an embroidery composition, a guipure, a thick silk velvet, and it is a skirt, a bolero, a mantilla, a cloak reinvented in a cloak, a cloak cut in pilgrim. Here, daywear, tailor, jacket and there, evening sets, also cocktail dresses lined in silk taffeta, fringed with fringes, adorned with satin ribbons, jet beads, sequins and accessories, blacks of course. Black conjugated through a hundred pieces from the Galliera fonds and the archives of the Balenciaga House.

Cristóbal Balenciaga (1895 – 1972) was a Spanish Basque fashion designer and the founder of the Balenciaga fashion house. He began studying dressmaking at the age of 10 and by age 20 he had his own dressmaking establishment, becoming the leading couturier of Spain. He had a reputation as a couturier of uncompromising standards and was referred to “as the master of us all” by Christian Dior and as “the only couturier in the truest sense of the word” by Coco Chanel, who continued “The others are simply fashion designers”. He continues to be revered as the supreme deity of the European salons. Since 2011 the purpose built Museo Balenciaga exhibits examples of his work in his birth town Getaria. Many of the 1200 pieces in the collection were supplied by his pupil Hubert de Givenchy and clients such as Grace Kelly.

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