Art & Design Lost Weekend in London – Part 3

The trip ended with a High Fashion Finale.

Balenciaga – Shaping Fashion at The V&A Museum did not disappoint.

There is a definite symbiosis between, fashion, architecture and sculpture which is clearly evident in Cristobal Balenciaga‘s work.

Think the late great Zaha Hadid , Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore – Balenciaga’s sensuous forms have a similar feel.

Oft described as the designer’s designer, Balenciaga pioneered bold, sculptural shapes in striking colours, which still influence fashion to this day.

The exhibition is on 2 floors, the ground floor focuses on the method and the work of the man himself, with the creations of those he has influenced on the upper level.


Cristobal Balenciaga crafting a Cocoon coat in the 1960’s

“The Master of us all”

 – Christian Dior



Cocoon Coat 2017 – Kin by John Lewis


The COS version


Or perhaps cocoon yourself in Faux Fur at Whistles – with 20% off until 25th September


Balenciaga chose to work away from the body, creating volume, as opposed to the nipped in waist silhouette favoured by Christian Dior.

This sculptural quality has stood the test of time, as demonstrated by Demna Gvasalia, the current designer at Balenciaga. Gvasalia honed his skills at Maison Margiela and while there is a nod to decontruction and playing with scale – the voluminous shapes are definitely inspired by Señor Balenciaga.


Balenciaga 1967


Balenciaga 1961




Balenciaga AW17 – Photo: BoF


Balenciaga AW17 – Photo: BoF


There were also has examples of gowns made for the Hollywood Film Star, Ava Gardner. She lived in Madrid and was a regular patron of Balenciaga. The feather trim was instantly recognisable as a reference for Miuccia Prada’s Spring Summer 2017 collection.


Balenciaga 1960


Prada SS17 – Photo: BoF


Balenciaga favoured draping on a form rather than sketching and always started with the fabric.

He favoured stiff silks and taffetas to give structure to his shapes. Demna Gvasalia has used similar fabrics in his latest collection to achieve the same bold silhouettes.


Balenciaga 1967


Screenshot of a video showing the construction of dress and cape (I do love a cape! – see here)


Balenciaga AW17 – Photo: BoF

Introducing Cristóbal Balenciaga runs until 18th February 2018 at The V&A Museum








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