CRISTÓBAL BALENCIAGA - THE MASTER OF US ALL
As Christian Dior so aptly put it, Cristóbal Balenciaga, founder of the haute couture house Balenciaga, is the master of all fashion designers. He is one of the most celebrated and admired designers of the 20th century. Now, under the creative direction of Demna Gvasalia, the fashion house is building on its successes and continues to thrill us this season with a new, innovative, outstanding collection.
THE WAY OF CRISTÓBAL BALENCIAGA
Cristóbal Balenciaga was born in 1895 in Guetaria (Spain) and discovered his devotion to tailoring at the age of eleven, undoubtedly influenced by the close relationship he had with his mother, who worked as a seamstress. Sent to Madrid to study tailoring by mentor and client, Marquesa de Casa Torres, a renowned woman in his hometown, the young Cristóbal was a quick success in Spain and opened boutiques in Madrid, Barcelona and San Sebastián. During the Spanish Civil War, Balenciaga moved to Paris and dazzled with his first runway show in 1937. In addition to captivating Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli, he attracted the attention of major fashion magazines, including Harper's Bazaar and Vogue. Customers from all over Europe embarked on a life-threatening journey to admire Balenciaga's collections in Paris.
ARTISTIC VOLUME, SUBVERSIVE AND EXPERIMENTAL DESIGNS
In the post-war period, Balenciaga's silhouettes became straight, in stark contrast to Christian Dior's hourglass silhouette and the New Look. The volatility of his lines was intended to create an independence of clothing from the female body. From 1952, Cristóbal Balenciaga revolutionized the appearance of women: he created wide shoulders and optically removed the waistline. The shirtdress, balloon jacket, baby-doll dress, sack dress and the balloon skirt were all products of the 1950s. The legendary designer also introduced new fabrics into his collections, including heavier weights, elaborate embroideries and decorations, and daring materials. Many young designers who worked for Balenciaga soon became highly esteemed designers themselves: Oscar de la Renta and Hubert de Givenchy were among his protégés. Balenciaga closed his namesake label in 1968 and died just four years later.
THE RESURRECTION OF THE IT LABEL
It was not until 1986 that Jacques Bogart S.A. obtained the rights for the Balenciaga label and founded the new ready-to-wear line, Le Dix. The Bogart Group sold the label to the Gucci Group in 2001. After several changes in the creative management – from Michel Goma to Alexander Wang – Demna Gvasalia became the new creative director in 2015. Although Gvasalia (also at the helm of Vetements) is inspired by young subcultures, street style and an openness towards the press, the parallels to Cristóbal Balenciaga are hard to overlook: Both Cristóbal and Demna prefer unconventional models and create an aura of mysticism in their work; both designers strive to create absolute niche products and in turn challenge the existing system of fashion and form.
THE LOOK OF BALENCIAGA
Balenciaga's designs are characterized by simple shapes, shiny materials, and the balance between traditional and futuristic. The garments and accessories are characterized by a sophisticated aesthetic and therefore appeal to a select clientele who are fully prepared to devote themselves to the world of Balenciaga. Under its founder, the label was known as an architect of clothing and still stands for carefully constructed and avant-garde collections. Voluminous cuts, streetstyle elements and statement shoes – whether ankle boots or sneakers – are complemented with high-quality leather accessories. Demna Gvasalia continues the era of the great master and remains true to its revolutionary spirit, however with a modern dose of street style and celebration of his personal ‘90s revival.
STYLE CRUSH: BALENCIAGA
We’re channeling the unconventional aesthetic of Demna Gvasalia with other brands as well. Stay true to the designer and shop casual coats, hoodies and jeans from Vetements. Down jackets from Moncler are the perfect counterpart to Balenciaga, as is clothing from Amiri, Maggie Marilyn and Public School – which cut a fine figure alongside key pieces. The streetstylers know how to mix and match: Think casual Vetements jeans, a hoodie from Yeezy, Vans and an oversized bomber from Balenciaga. Break your style with a playful blouse from Maggie Marilyn, ankle boots from Anine Bing or Maison Margiela and jeans from Balenciaga. The collection wins us over with oversized trench coats, pointed spandex boots in statement colors, draped fabrics and floral prints. It is also recognizable by asymmetric cuts, strong silhouettes and vibrant colors.
SHOP BALENCIAGA ONLINE AT STYLEBOP.COM
Not only Kanye West loves everything about the new collection from Gemna Gvasalia. STYLEBOP.com offers a handpicked selection of key pieces from top designers, including statement mesh, fabric and leather sneakers, oversized bomber jackets, jean jackets, and socks that are welcomed to be seen and admired. Shop overcut down jackets and trench coats, casual shirts and of course the star of the ‘90s revival: The Triple S sneaker – celebrated as the shoe of the year among street style mavens. Sophisticated and sartorial, the look is characterized by a mix up of materials and patterns and captivates with voluminous silhouettes and an extraordinary aesthetic. Discover more luxury designers for men and women online at STYLEBOP.com.
DISCOVER MORE FROM BALENCIAGA AT STYLEBOP.com
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