The first in-depth exhibition of the work of legendary designer and Spanish couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga opens at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute in New York on November 19th.
Balenciaga opened his Paris fashion house in 1937 and retired in 1968 but his legacy lives on. His craftsmanship and innovative silhouettes has transformed women’s fashion. I scored a Balenciaga dress at a Barney’s New York warehouse sale last year, and it made my world. His work has not only influenced fashion but has impacted Spanish culture and history.
The exhibition will showcase seventy items designed by Cristóbal Balenciaga.
BALENCIAGA: Spanish Master is the result of an unprecedented collaboration between the House of Balenciaga in Paris and an American institution. Queen Sofia Spanish Institute is indebted to Balenciaga, which has opened up its Archives and whose immense generosity has enabled a unique loan of historically significant Cristóbal Balenciaga garments to the exhibition, in addition to access to the Archives’ related materials and iconography. Masterpieces from this highly significant collection include Balenciaga’s 1939 “Infanta” gown, and his four-point silk gazar dress of 1967 which illustrates the increasing abstraction and experimentation in his work.
In partnership with the Ministry of Culture of Spain, highlights from the Fundación Cristóbal Balenciaga include the extraordinary embroidered 1957 wedding dress of Sonsoles Díez de Rivera (daughter of Balenciaga’s Spanish muse, the Marquesa de Llanzol), which is as splendid as the vestments of a Sevillana Madonna figure.
Additional objects such as matador boleros from 1946 and flamenco-inspired dresses from 1951 and 1961 come from museum and private collections in America and Europe.
The exhibition is curated by Hamish Bowles, Vogue’s European editor-at-large.
BALENCIAGA: Spanish Master, November, 19th, 2010 to February 19th, 2011; Queen Sofía Spanish Institute, 684 Park Avenue New York, New York 10065