You're not in Kansas anymore…

Cristóbal Balenciaga

Today’s designer is one of my absolute favorites. He might not be the most famous designer, but his clothes are pure art. Allow me to introduce the lovely, magnificent, glorious genius and master of haute couture, Cristóbal Balenciaga (1895-1972).

This brilliant Spanish designer was, believe it or not, the founder of the Balenciaga Fashion House. When still a teenager, Balenciaga became the personal tailor of a noblewoman in his town, who also sent him to Madrid where he went to school and learned to make dresses like these:

Thank you, Marchioness de Casa Torres!

Balenciaga opened his first boutique in Spain in 1919, and the Spanish royal family and aristocracy quickly became his customers. When the civil war began he moved his business to Paris, where he continued creating original designs such as the tunic dress in 1955. (Can you imagine, a dress without a waist?)

Balenciaga is also credited for, among other stuff, the creation of the balloon jacket and skirt.

According to Diana Vreeland, Balenciaga’s designs caused Audrey Hepburn to “foam at the mouth.” (Way to disgustify a compliment, Diana!)

The brilliant Balenciaga also taught design, and inspired some of my other favorite designers, such as Oscar de la Renta and Hubert de Givenchy.

But, sadly, not even Señor Balenciaga could live forever, and his fashion house now belongs to the Gucci Group. The head designer has for the last fourteen years been Nicolas Ghesquière. He’s not too bad either, if you ask me (which you totally should).

Personally, I do prefer vintage Balenciaga, though, it just got so much more… muchness.

Love, Hanna


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