Still thinking about structure and control, which brings me to the Victoria &Albert Museum’s Exhibition Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion. It refers rather cleverly to the fact that Balenciaga was a designer who has had a lot of influence on other fashion designers (a designer’s designer, especially to those who are trying to be innovative within the field). It also refers to the fact that if you want to create 3-d shapes (ie garments) out of 2-d material, you jolly well need something to hold it up.
- You need structure. And Balenciaga was a master tailor and couturier, who knew how to manipulate the fabric toaccomplish the most remarkable things with fabric.
“This evening dress – displayed inside out – shows the attention to detail in constructing a couture gown. The net bodice, structured with steel boning… Fabric edges are bound with silk tulle and hard fastenings covered in velvet for comfort…”
-Victoria & Albert Museum
In short, a fascinating exhibition with garments not just by Cristóbal Balenciaga, but also from several designers who came after him, and cited him as mentor or Inspiration.
It’s amusing to see that the flared sleeves and pleats that are among this year’s hottest trends, look as if they’re borrowed straight from his sketchbook.
Top row: Tulip dress, Wool tweed Skirt suit by Balenciaga
Bottom row: Evening dress by Balenciaga, Ballons Dress by Sybilla (Spain), Cocktail dress by Roksanda Ilincic