Farewell to Renato Balestra, the “painter of fashion” died at 98 years old

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The fashion world says goodbye to Renato Balestra, the stylist from Trieste who had made Rome the mother cradle of his eponymous maison. The couturier, who devoted his entire career to high fashion, died at the age of 98 in a clinic in the capital, where he had been hospitalized: the news was given by his daughters Federica and Fabiana, who together their niece Sofia will now take over the reins of the fashion house. “Sorrowed by this terrible disappearance, the memory of an extraordinary man remains – they announced. – Unique thanks to his curiosity and passion that have allowed him to be a protagonist of Italian high fashion in the world ».

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Born in 1924 in Trieste, Renato Balestra was a great lover of art and music. In fact, he entered the world of fashion through a fortuitous circumstance, when some classmates from the university engineering faculty asked him to design a women’s dress. From that goliardic game born as a bet, a completely unexpected outcome: unbeknownst to him, his companions sent that sketch to a competition and Renato Balestra triumphed as the winner.

Rome, 2016. Renato Balestra greets the public after one of his fashion shows.

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Once the path as an engineer had been archived, the new chapter was clear to Balestra, who continued along the road that opened up in front of him with apprenticeships in the fashion houses of Jole Veneziani, Sorelle Fontana and Schuberth. His first atelier was born in Rome in the 1960s in via Sistina and his stylistic code was always devoted to haute couture, to the enhancement of the female silhouette through linear and classic sartorial execution. Many stars have chosen his creations, many also belonging to the world of Hollywood such as Liz Taylor, but also Candice Bergen, Cyd Charisse, Linda Christian and Claudia Cardinale. At the end, Gina Lollobrigida and Sophia Loren.

Rome, 2015. The designer says goodbye after the AltaRoma AltaModa fashion show

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Renato Balestra also deserves credit for the iconic Blu Balestra color identifying the brand, born from a mix of nuances that he himself said he experimented on palette. There are also many collaborations with the world of ballet and opera, such as the costumes of Cinderella by Rossini for the Belgrade Opera House and the costumes for The Knight of the Rose by Strauss at the Teatro Verdi in Trieste.

Rome, 2014. Renato Balestra on the red carpet of the Rome Film Fest

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As for the future of his eponymous maison, the passing of the baton had already taken place during the Milan fashion week last February: the debut in the world of ready-to-wear, with a new e logo Crossbow, Reloadedthe first collection ready-to-wear ever presented since its foundation in 1959, had sanctioned a new guide, the beginning of a new chapter.

Presented as a natural metamorphosis, the new era signed by Renato Balestra continues and will continue with the leadership of the founder’s daughters, Fabiana and Federica Balestra, supported by their niece Sofia Bertolli Balestra as head of research, design and brand identity activities. «Balestra is strength, courage, pride. Ours is a return to beauty and freedom», said Federica Balestra in the press release last February. But now, in this evolutionary phase that was already looking to the future of the maison, particular attention cannot be lacking to the great cultural and stylistic legacy inherited from the “painter of fashion”.

Source: Vanity Fair

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