Wednesday, October 5, 2011

It all started with Margot Fonteyn, a bolero and a young boy with impeccable taste.
Balenciaga and Spain 
 Written by
 Hamish Bowles 
 Skira Rizzoli

In 1962 the pubescent Hamish Bowles then a wunderkind unbeknownst to himself came across a Balenciaga bolero donated at an auction by the legendary ballet dancer Margot Fonteyn - on that night he did not acquire the piece (he eventually did) but his admiration for the man who designed it -  Cristóbal Balenciaga was ignited. Fast forward a few decades and his adoration for the genius behind the couture is on full display with the resonating tome Balenciaga and Spain (Skira Rizzoli).
Sketch of Balenciaga "Infanta" evening dress;
 from Vogue Magazine (September 15, 1939). 
 Carl Erickson/Conde Nast Archive; © Conde Nast.


Arguably one of the most influential, imaginative, and provocative designers to have lived, Cristóbal Balenciaga both challenged and expanded fashion conventions to express ideas about style, design, culture, function and innovation. Balenciaga and Spain examines the full breadth of the designer’s career, from the start of his métier in Paris to the triumphs of his own world-renowned house.
Cristóbal Balenciaga.
 House photograph of evening gown of turquoise silk gauze, summer 1958. 
Courtesy Balenciaga Archive.


Cristóbal Balenciaga.
 Cocktail hat of ivory silk satin, 1953. Originally published in Vogue, October 15, 1953.
 Photo: John Rawlings.


It features his most iconic and profound designs, revealing how Balenciaga adapted and combined the fundamentals of exquisite tailoring, the specialized techniques of haute couture, and technological innovation to achieve his distinctive aesthetic.
Hamish Bowles, European editor at large, Vogue, and guest curator of Balenciaga and Spain. 
Photo by Arthur Elgort.


Cristóbal Balenciaga. 
 House photograph of wedding dress and veil of white silk-satin organza and silk gazar, summer 1968.  Courtesy Balenciaga Archive.

It also focuses on the highly sophisticated narrative structures underpinning his life and how he was was deeply influenced by all the culture and folklore of Spain from the religious to the gypsy and the flamencos and bullfighters each playing a pivotal part in his collections. 
Cristóbal Balenciaga. 
  Studio drawing of ball gown of black tulle, silk-satin ribbons and silk fringe tassels, winter 1957. 
 Courtesy Balenciaga Archives.

Cristóbal Balenciaga.  
 House photograph of evening ensemble; dress of black silk crepe and "chou" wrap of black silk gazar, winter 1967.  
Photo courtesy of Balenciaga Archives, Paris

Cristóbal Balenciaga (circa 1952).  © Bettmann/CORBIS




Published to coincide with the exhibition Balenciaga: Spanish Master.”  which was held at  The Queen Sofia Spanish Institute (it ended February 2011), the stunning book immortalizes the genius in such spectacular form it would be a travesty if you don't get this tome at once! 



 Balenciaga and Spain 
Written by Hamish Bowles 
Skira Rizzoli



To purchase the book check out Rizzoli New York 

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

stunning.

preppysue said...

I might sound ignorant but I thought balenciaga was a woman ...

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