Saturday, July 20, 2013


Day coat in turquoise blue fine milled wool, c. 1960

Sweater and skirt in plain green wool knit, back view, 1957

Cocktail coat in black gros de Naples, 1956

Day dress in orange wool crepe, side view, c. 1968

Green silk crepe ensemble, c. 1961

Embroidered silk tulle jacket, 1959

Evening dress in yellow gros de Naples, with embroidery, 1960

Embroidered & beaded embellishments on silk crepe dress, 1966

Pillbox hat in emerald green rayon raffeta, covered with dyed-to-match cockerel feathers, 1964

Cristobal Balenciaga Museoa (located in "the master's" birthplace  Getaria, Spain) published a glossy hardcover catalog  in 2011 – highlights from a storehouse of Balenciaga artifacts said to be the largest in the world.

The couturier staged the first fashion show of his long career in Spain in 1918 and the last in Paris in 1968. His early idols and influences were two Parisian women of a slightly older generation  Madeleine Vionnet (1876-1975) and Coco Chanel (1883-1971). To their trademark sleekness and simplicity Balenciaga brought the most sophisticated tailoring on the planet and an  inheritance (through Goya, it is said) of Spanish volume and drama. In more than one source I have also read the (possibly apocryphal) assertion that twice a year for fifty years Balenciaga  insisted on producing at least one garment for each collection made entirely with his own hands.

Above, a few stand-out details from the Spanish museum collection, as photographed by Manuel Outumuro.