Fashion

Cristobal Balenciaga (1895 - 1972)

The Spanish couturier opened his first couture house in 1915 in San Sebastian. Ten years later, the Spanish royal family is fond of his creations. In 1932, he opens another couture house in Madrid and Barcelona but in 1936, he gets to Paris to escape the Spanish Civil War and immediately enthralled the capital of fashion. His sculptural sack dresses, his heavy volumes and his balloon skirts highly influenced the creations of the younger generation, like Givenchy who considered him his master. Severely challenged by the 1960s fashion changes such as the miniskirt and ready to wear breakthrough, Balenciaga decides to quit haute couture and France to go back to Spain. His name still stands for some idealistic artistic intransigence - both by his creations and his acts- nowadays designers can't afford anymore. 

Cristobal Balenciaga, Ensemble, photographed by Henry Clarke, 1953
Cristobal Balenciaga, Ensemble, photographed by Henry Clarke, 1953
Cristobal Balenciaga, Ensemble, photographed by Gordon Parks for LIFE, 1951
Cristobal Balenciaga, Ensemble, photographed by Gordon Parks for LIFE, 1951
Cristobal Balenciaga, Babydoll Dress, 1958, Cristóbal Balenciaga Museoa in Getaria, Spain
Cristobal Balenciaga, Babydoll Dress, 1958, Cristóbal Balenciaga Museoa in Getaria, Spain
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Ensemble, Fall/Winter 1963, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Ensemble, Fall/Winter 1963, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Ensemble (detail), Fall/Winter 1963, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Ensemble (detail), Fall/Winter 1963, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Cristobal Balenciaga by Boris Lipnitzki, 1927
Cristobal Balenciaga by Boris Lipnitzki, 1927
Cristobal Balenciaga, Day Tunique, 1957
Cristobal Balenciaga, Day Tunique, 1957
Lisa Fonssagrives in Cristobal Balenciaga Ensemble, photographed by Irving Penn for Vogue, 1950
Lisa Fonssagrives in Cristobal Balenciaga Ensemble, photographed by Irving Penn for Vogue, 1950
Cristobal Balenciaga, Dress, 1956
Cristobal Balenciaga, Dress, 1956
Cristobal Balenciaga, Dress, Fall/Winter 1962, The Kyoto Costume Institute, Japan
Cristobal Balenciaga, Dress, Fall/Winter 1962, The Kyoto Costume Institute, Japan
Cristobal Balenciaga, Ensemble, photographed by Irving Penn, 1950
Cristobal Balenciaga, Ensemble, photographed by Irving Penn, 1950
Cristobal Balenciaga, Cocktail Dress, early 1960s, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Cristobal Balenciaga, Cocktail Dress, early 1960s, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Cristobal Balenciaga, Ensemble, photographed by Harry Meerson, 1957
Cristobal Balenciaga, Ensemble, photographed by Harry Meerson, 1957
Cristobal Balenciaga, Coat, photographed by Irving Penn, 1951
Cristobal Balenciaga, Coat, photographed by Irving Penn, 1951
Cristobal Balenciaga, Coat, photographed by Irving Penn, 1951
Cristobal Balenciaga, Coat, photographed by Irving Penn, 1951
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Dress, 1967, Fashion Institute of Technology, New York
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Dress, 1967, Fashion Institute of Technology, New York
Elise Daniels in Cristobal Balenciaga Ensemble, photographed by Rivard Avedon, 1948
Elise Daniels in Cristobal Balenciaga Ensemble, photographed by Rivard Avedon, 1948
Cristobal Balenciaga, Dress, 1958
Cristobal Balenciaga, Dress, 1958
Cristobal Balenciaga, Dress, photographed by Louise Dahl-Wolfe, 1952
Cristobal Balenciaga, Dress, photographed by Louise Dahl-Wolfe, 1952
Cristobal Balenciaga, Coat, photographed by Philippe Pottier for L'Officiel, 1956
Cristobal Balenciaga, Coat, photographed by Philippe Pottier for L'Officiel, 1956
Cristobal Balenciaga, Coat and Silk Dress, photographed by Gordon Parks, 1950
Cristobal Balenciaga, Coat and Silk Dress, photographed by Gordon Parks, 1950
Cristobal Balenciaga, Dresses, photographed by Gjon Mili, 1951
Cristobal Balenciaga, Dresses, photographed by Gjon Mili, 1951
Cristobal Balenciaga, Cocktail Dress, ca. 1963, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Cristobal Balenciaga, Cocktail Dress, ca. 1963, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Cristobal Balenciaga, Cocktail Dress, ca. 1963, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Cristobal Balenciaga, Cocktail Dress, ca. 1963, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Cristobal Balenciaga, Dress, photographed by George Hoyningen-Huene for Harper's Bazaar, 1939
Cristobal Balenciaga, Dress, photographed by George Hoyningen-Huene for Harper's Bazaar, 1939
Cristobal Balenciaga, Coat, 1955, The Kyoto Costume Institute, Japan
Cristobal Balenciaga, Coat, 1955, The Kyoto Costume Institute, Japan
Cristobal Balenciaga, Cocktail Hat, ca. 1950, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Cristobal Balenciaga, Cocktail Hat, ca. 1950, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Dress, ca. 1952, Cristóbal Balenciaga Museoa in Getaria, Spain
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Dress, ca. 1952, Cristóbal Balenciaga Museoa in Getaria, Spain
Cristobal Balenciaga, Little Great Coat, photographed by Irving Penn, 1950
Cristobal Balenciaga, Little Great Coat, photographed by Irving Penn, 1950
Suzy Parker in Cristobal Balenciaga Dress, photographed by Henry Clarke, 1953
Suzy Parker in Cristobal Balenciaga Dress, photographed by Henry Clarke, 1953
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Dress, Fall/Winter, 1968, Palais Galliera, Paris
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Dress, Fall/Winter, 1968, Palais Galliera, Paris
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Dress (detail), Fall/Winter, 1968, Palais Galliera, Paris
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Dress (detail), Fall/Winter, 1968, Palais Galliera, Paris
Cristobal Balenciaga, Coat and Hat, photographed by Henry Clarke, ca. 1955
Cristobal Balenciaga, Coat and Hat, photographed by Henry Clarke, ca. 1955
Cristobal Balenciaga, Coat, 1963, The Kyoto Costume Institute, Japan
Cristobal Balenciaga, Coat, 1963, The Kyoto Costume Institute, Japan
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Dress, photographed by Jean Parmentier, 1955
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Dress, photographed by Jean Parmentier, 1955
Cristobal Balenciaga, Hat, 1962, Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Cristobal Balenciaga, Hat, 1962, Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Cristobal Balenciaga, Dress, photographed by John Rawlings, ca. 1951
Cristobal Balenciaga, Dress, photographed by John Rawlings, ca. 1951
Cristobal Balenciaga, Dress, 1952
Cristobal Balenciaga, Dress, 1952
Cristobal Balenciaga, Day Dress, Spring/Summer 1958, The Kyoto Costume Institute, Japan
Cristobal Balenciaga, Day Dress, Spring/Summer 1958, The Kyoto Costume Institute, Japan
Cristobal Balenciaga, Dress, photographed by Henry Clarke for Vogue, ca. 1951
Cristobal Balenciaga, Dress, photographed by Henry Clarke for Vogue, ca. 1951
Dovima in Cristobal Balenciaga Dress, photographed by Irving Penn for Vogue, 1950
Dovima in Cristobal Balenciaga Dress, photographed by Irving Penn for Vogue, 1950
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Dress, Fall/Winter, 1958, Palais Galliera, Paris
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Dress, Fall/Winter, 1958, Palais Galliera, Paris
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Dress (detail), Fall/Winter, 1958, Palais Galliera, Paris
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Dress (detail), Fall/Winter, 1958, Palais Galliera, Paris
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Dress, photographed by Henry Clarke, 1951
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Dress, photographed by Henry Clarke, 1951
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Bolero, Fall/Winter 1946, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Bolero, Fall/Winter 1946, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Suit, ca. 1949, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Suit, ca. 1949, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Suit (detail), ca. 1949, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Suit (detail), ca. 1949, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Cristobal Balenciaga by Henry Clarke, 1952
Cristobal Balenciaga by Henry Clarke, 1952
Anne Gunning in Cristobal Balenciaga Coat, photographed by Henry Clarke, 1954
Anne Gunning in Cristobal Balenciaga Coat, photographed by Henry Clarke, 1954
Cristobal Balenciaga, Cocktail Dress, 1955, The Kyoto Costume Institute, Japan
Cristobal Balenciaga, Cocktail Dress, 1955, The Kyoto Costume Institute, Japan
Cristobal Balenciaga, Dress Textile Sample, 1964, Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Cristobal Balenciaga, Dress Textile Sample, 1964, Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Cristobal Balenciaga, Coats, 1963, Cristóbal Balenciaga Museoa in Getaria, Spain
Cristobal Balenciaga, Coats, 1963, Cristóbal Balenciaga Museoa in Getaria, Spain
Countess Mona Von Bismarck in Cristobal Balenciaga Dress, Spring/Summer 1968
Countess Mona Von Bismarck in Cristobal Balenciaga Dress, Spring/Summer 1968
Cristobal Balenciaga, Coat, photographed by Philippe Pottier for L'Officiel, 1947
Cristobal Balenciaga, Coat, photographed by Philippe Pottier for L'Officiel, 1947
Anne-Saint Marie in Cristobal Balenciaga Suit and Skirt, photographed by Henry Clarke, 1955
Anne-Saint Marie in Cristobal Balenciaga Suit and Skirt, photographed by Henry Clarke, 1955
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Dress, 1939, Cristobal Balenciaga Museoa in Getaria, Spain
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Dress, 1939, Cristobal Balenciaga Museoa in Getaria, Spain
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Dress (detail), 1939, Cristóbal Balenciaga Museoa in Getaria, Spain
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Dress (detail), 1939, Cristóbal Balenciaga Museoa in Getaria, Spain
Cristobal Balenciaga, Ensemble, 1967, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Cristobal Balenciaga, Ensemble, 1967, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Dress, 1968, Fashion Institute of Technology, New York
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Dress, 1968, Fashion Institute of Technology, New York
Anne Sainte-Marie in Cristobal Balenciaga Dress and Skirt, photographed by Henry Clarke, 1955
Anne Sainte-Marie in Cristobal Balenciaga Dress and Skirt, photographed by Henry Clarke, 1955
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Ensemble, Fall/Winter 1963-1964, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Ensemble, Fall/Winter 1963-1964, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Anne Sainte-Marie in Cristobal Balenciaga Ensemble, photographed by Henry Clarke, 1955
Anne Sainte-Marie in Cristobal Balenciaga Ensemble, photographed by Henry Clarke, 1955
Cristobal Balenciaga, Dress, photographed by George Hoyningen-Huene, 1939
Cristobal Balenciaga, Dress, photographed by George Hoyningen-Huene, 1939
Cristobal Balenciaga and Harper's Bazaar editor in Chief Carmel Snow by Walter Sanders, 1952
Cristobal Balenciaga and Harper's Bazaar editor in Chief Carmel Snow by Walter Sanders, 1952
Cristobal Balenciaga and Harper's Bazaar editor in Chief Carmel Snow by Walter Sanders, 1952
Cristobal Balenciaga and Harper's Bazaar editor in Chief Carmel Snow by Walter Sanders, 1952
Cristobal Balenciaga, Coat, illustration by René Grau, 1955
Cristobal Balenciaga, Coat, illustration by René Grau, 1955
Cristobal Balenciaga, Cocktail Dress, 1953, Cristóbal Balenciaga Museoa in Getaria, Spain
Cristobal Balenciaga, Cocktail Dress, 1953, Cristóbal Balenciaga Museoa in Getaria, Spain
Cristobal Balenciaga, Cocktail Dress (detail), 1953, Cristóbal Balenciaga Museoa in Getaria, Spain
Cristobal Balenciaga, Cocktail Dress (detail), 1953, Cristóbal Balenciaga Museoa in Getaria, Spain
Anne Sainte-Marie in Cristobal Balenciaga Ensemble, photographed by Henry Clarke, 1955
Anne Sainte-Marie in Cristobal Balenciaga Ensemble, photographed by Henry Clarke, 1955
Cristobal Balenciaga during a fitting, photographed by Henri-Cartier Bresson, 1968
Cristobal Balenciaga during a fitting, photographed by Henri-Cartier Bresson, 1968
Alberta Tiburzi in Cristobal Balenciaga Dress, photographed by Hiro Wakabayashi for Harper's Bazaar, 1967
Alberta Tiburzi in Cristobal Balenciaga Dress, photographed by Hiro Wakabayashi for Harper's Bazaar, 1967
Cristobal Balenciaga, Wedding Dress and Hat, 1967
Cristobal Balenciaga, Wedding Dress and Hat, 1967
Cristobal Balenciaga, Wedding Dress and Hat, 1967
Cristobal Balenciaga, Wedding Dress and Hat, 1967
Cristobal Balenciaga, Wedding Dress and Hat, 1967
Cristobal Balenciaga, Wedding Dress and Hat, 1967
Cristobal Balenciaga, Short Jacket, 1947, Cristóbal Balenciaga Museoa in Getaria, Spain
Cristobal Balenciaga, Short Jacket, 1947, Cristóbal Balenciaga Museoa in Getaria, Spain
Cristobal Balenciaga, Advertisement for the opening of La Maison Balenciag Avenue George V, in Vogue, 1938
Cristobal Balenciaga, Advertisement for the opening of La Maison Balenciag Avenue George V, in Vogue, 1938
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Coat, ca. 1935, Cristobal Balenciaga Museoa in Getaria, Spain
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Coat, ca. 1935, Cristobal Balenciaga Museoa in Getaria, Spain
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Dress and Stole, photographed by Frances McLaughlin-Gill, 1952
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Dress and Stole, photographed by Frances McLaughlin-Gill, 1952
Cristobal Balenciaga, Babydoll Dress, Spring/Summer 1958
Cristobal Balenciaga, Babydoll Dress, Spring/Summer 1958
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Dress, 1938, Fashion Institute of Technology, New York
Cristobal Balenciaga, Evening Dress, 1938, Fashion Institute of Technology, New York
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