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Balenciaga – Master of Couture (Touring)

Start Date 15 December 2018
End Date 21 April 2019
Venue Textil Museet
Location Boras, Sweden
Curator Cassie Davies-Stroder, V&A Museum
Organised biy V&A Museum, London, UK
Exhibition display of dressed mannequins

Balenciaga – Master of Couture is an international exhibition from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London that highlights the “master of haute couture” Cristóbal Balenciaga.

The exhibition focuses on the heyday during the 1950s – 1960s when his outstanding creativity revolutionized fashion. Balenciaga’s bold architectural lines freed from the body’s restrictions still affect fashion today and the exhibition also shows garments by later designers who continued in the master’s footsteps such as Hubert de Givenchy, Yohij Yamamoto, Iris Van Herpen and Hussein Chalayan.

The Spanish – born fashion designer Cristóbal Balenciaga designed exclusive tailor – made clothes of the highest quality for the world’s fashion elite between the 1930s and 1960s. The exhibition Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion at the Victoria and Albert Museum focuses on the heyday during the 1950s – 1960s when Balenciaga led the fashion development and introduced innovations such as the sack dress, baby doll cut, balloon skirt, tunic etc.

The exhibition tells about the work in the studio, the construction of the garments and about the fashionable customers who dressed in his design. In addition to a large number of original garments from both V & A’s collections and international deposits, there are also couture garments by later designers that continue in the spirit of Balenciaga, such as Yves Saint Laurent, Hubert de Givenchy, Oscar de la Renta, Calvin Klein, Yohij Yamamoto, Hussein Chalayan, Rei Kawakubo, Iris Van Herpen and more.

Balenciaga – Master of Couture is widely known and has been praised in both the international and Swedish press. In London, the exhibition has been seen by 272,500 visitors and went on an international tour around the world in March 2018, the Textile Museum is the only one in Europe where Balenciaga can be seen.

With the exhibition, the museum wants to highlight this withdrawn master whose name may not be as well known as other contemporary designers, but who has had a strong impact on subsequent fashion developments.

Balenciaga is admired by both contemporary and subsequent designers for its skill, accuracy and uncompromisingness. With a background as a tailor apprentice from the age of 12, he became known as a master of cutting with complete control over the entire work process. Inspired by historical epochs, traditional Spanish costume and sacred garments, he simplified and developed during the 1960s the cut of garments into sculptural forms freed from the restrictions of the body. The exhibition tells of an important era in fashion history when Balenciaga’s innovative forms paved the way for a new view of fashion.

Image courtesy of Textil Museet, Boras, Sweden.