Shaping Fashion: V&A Hosts Balenciaga Exhibition

  Cristóbal Balenciaga at work, 1968, Paris, France / Photo: Henri Cartier-Bresson. © Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos

Cristóbal Balenciaga at work, 1968, Paris, France / Photo: Henri Cartier-Bresson. © Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos

One of current fashion’s most influential and widely talked about labels, the house of Balenciaga and its eponymous designer are soon be celebrated in a dedicated exhibition at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum. Showcasing the Spanish couturier’s work from the 1950s and 1960s, the event will also explore the impact ‘The Master’ of haute couture has had on contemporary clothing, with exhibits from both his protégés as well as today’s creatives highlighting his lasting legacy.

  Babydoll evening dress, Cristóbal Balenciaga, 1958, Paris. Museum no. T.334-1997. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London / Alberta Tiburzi in 'envelope' dress by Cristóbal Balenciaga. Photo: Hiro Wakabayashi for Harper's Bazaar, June 1967. © Hiro 1967

Babydoll evening dress, Cristóbal Balenciaga, 1958, Paris. Museum no. T.334-1997. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London / Alberta Tiburzi in 'envelope' dress by Cristóbal Balenciaga. Photo: Hiro Wakabayashi for Harper's Bazaar, June 1967. © Hiro 1967

Known for his architectural shapes and as a pioneer in terms of fabric design, Cristóbal Balenciaga revolutionized fashion and was revered by his contemporaries, including Christian Dior and Coco Chanel. With his refreshing take on the traditional female silhouette, the designer created the tunic, sack, baby doll and shift dress, styles that have all become staples in today’s wardrobes.

  Skirt suit, Cristóbal Balenciaga, 1954 – 5, Paris. Museum no. T.128&A-1982. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London / Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga, Autumn Winter 2016 ready-to-wear, look 1. Photo: courtesy of Catwalking.com

Skirt suit, Cristóbal Balenciaga, 1954 – 5, Paris. Museum no. T.128&A-1982. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London / Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga, Autumn Winter 2016 ready-to-wear, look 1. Photo: courtesy of Catwalking.com

The Victoria & Albert Museum has the largest collection of Balenciaga in the UK. The exhibition will include over 100 garments and hats crafted by the couturier, as well as items created by those he has influenced such as Phoebe Philo, Molly Goddard and of course Balenciaga’s current creative director and head of the Vetements collective Demna Gvsalia. There will also be archive sketches, patterns, photographs and fabric samples on display, plus catwalk footage, providing a unique insight into brand and its founder.

‘Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion’ opens on Saturday, 27th May, and marks the centenary of the opening of the designer’s first fashion house in Spain’s San Sebastian, and the 80th anniversary of the opening of his Paris maison.

Read more about the exhibition here