Cristóbal Balenciaga, 10 curiosities about the king of couture

Cristóbal Balenciaga, 10 curiosities about the king of couture

We know all the Triple S, the ugly sneakers by Balenciaga that for seasons have been the strongest fashion obsession of many fashionistas in the world. Perhaps, however, many know a little less about the history behind one of the most desired brands of all time. If today it is Demna Gvasalia who drags her beyond the peaks of Olympus à la page, once the one who brought the maison from nothing to the splendor was its founder Cristóbal Balenciaga, whose 50th anniversary is celebrated today, 23 March. years after his death in 1972.


The genius, deep and daring, of the master of Haute Couture, and his avant-garde visions made clothes (it was he the first to ignore the waistline and to design blouse shirts, tunic dresses, coats and egg-shaped dresses, to invent the babydoll), have always been recognized as immense by his contemporaries and those of today, and even those who will be.

A 1955 Balenciaga dress. Photo Getty

When Cristóbal Balenciaga the Women’s Wear Daily, the most famous fashion magazine of the time titled, simply and eloquently, to comment on his passing: «The king is dead». For Christian Dior he was “the teacher of all of us”. Coco Chanel, who admired him very much, spoke of him as the only couturier as he was able to design and create a dress with his own hands, following all the steps, from the first to the last. Oscar de la Renta, Pierre Cardin and Emanuel Ungaro formed under him. Hubert de Givenchy, another protege of the couturier, claimed that Balenciaga was the greatest architect of Haute Couture.


This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.

To talk about his inheritance, immense, rivers of ink should be poured. We can say with certainty that it was he who invented modern couture, making it fluid, both literally and figuratively: apart from the material, there is a lightness in the very structure of his dresses, jackets and coats. And this depends on the space it has always left between the wearer’s body and clothing, adapting volumes to any silhouette. His conception of fashion is definitely 4.0.

A 1956 Balenciaga model

In Paris, at 10 Rue George V, where he had established his atelier since 1937there has always been a comings and goings of very rich ladies and high-ranking fashion addicts determined to reach, through their creations, the highest levels of inimitable refinement.

Balenciaga’s atelier in Paris. Getty photo


Cristòbal Balenciaga, son of a fisherman and a seamstress, born in a village in the Basque Country at the end of the 19th century (to be precise in Getaria, January 21, 1895), he was the man who went through most of the twentieth century with a Third Millennium mentality. An unstoppable genius who over the years has seen his fame grow exponentially. His goal was the perfect balance between fabric, shape and the human body, obtained by alternating red and black, lace, boleros and precious inlays, a legacy of its origins. “A woman doesn’t have to be perfect or beautiful to wear my clothes. The latter will do everything, ”she said.

She began her career by dressing a type of woman who changed clothes three times a day and who traveled with several trunks and a maid. And she retired when, seeing Jean Seberg than in the movie Until the last breath 1960 sell copies ofHerald Tribune with short hair, a t-shirt with the newspaper logo, skinny jeans and ballet flats, she realized that her reign of form was days numbered.

Jean Seberg in Until the last breath.

“I will not prostitute my talent”, he replies indignantly to those who ask him when in 1968 he decides to retire from the scene and not bow to pret-a-porter that was advancing. The couturier returned to designing only to sew Carmen Martínez-Bordiú’s wedding dress, at the request of his former client, Carmen Polo. After a few weeks, in Spain, where it all began, Cristóbal Balenciaga, the king of couture, died.

After stormy years, in 1997 the maison that bears his name saw a return to greatness when Nicolas Ghesquière was appointed head designer, a position he held until 2012. After Alexander Wang, creative director for six seasons, since 2015 the fashion house has been successfully led by the award-winning Georgian designer Demna Gvasalia, as we know. Since its appointment Balenciaga has been rebranded as one of today’s most ambitious and desirable fashion brands, a company we think Cristóbal would have been extremely proud of.

In the gallery we have collected ten curiosities about the great Catalan artist, forever the greatest, the most modern, inimitable couturier of all time.

Other stories of Vanity Fair that may interest you:

– Balenciaga, return to the past with The Lost Tape
– Kim Kardashian, (almost) lawyer at Balenciaga
– Balenciaga, in the Parisian house of Isabelle Huppert

Source: Vanity Fair