Long before the the storied House of Balenciaga was associated with IKEA memes, hashtags, and became the famous last words of television witches, Cristóbal Balenciaga was the designers’-designer during the golden age of Haute Couture. When Balenciaga was alive, Monsieur Dior and Madame Chanel all looked to him as the leader of style and praised him as the architect of glamour. Paired with the legacy he left behind after his death in 1972, these are all fertile grounds for a great retrospective.
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So the Victoria & Albert Museum in London did just that. Kicking off the Museum’s annual spring extravaganza, the exhibition, Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion, marks the centenary of the opening of his fashion house, and is an ode to the Spanish couturier’s influence.
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Situated in the heart of the historic institution’s Fashion Galleries, the exhibition revolves around three main sections: “Front of House”, including Balenciaga’s salons, before offering a rare peek behind the scenes in the designer’s “Workrooms”, culminating in the lasting impact of “Balenciaga’s Legacy” in 2017.
The Balenciaga brand still references its founder today, yet his influence spreads far wider. The “Legacy” section features the work of over 30 designers of the last 50 years — tracing the influence of this most revered Titan of fashion right up to present day in the works of designers like André Courrèges, Emanuel Ungaro, Hubert de Givenchy, and more recently, Phoebe Philo for Céline, Erdem Moralioğlu, J.W. Anderson, Molly Goddard, Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garçons, and finally the House’s current Creative Director, Demna Gvasalia.
Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion runs from 27 May 2017 to 18 February 2018 at the V&A.
Now watch our exclusive video as we take you inside the exhibition
By Adriel Chiun