world for centuries
Cristobal Balenciaga once said that “a good fashion designer should be an architect for patterns, a sculptor for form, an artist for design, a musician for harmony, and a philosopher for fit.” And it is not surprising that in the 20th century he ruled high fashion with innovative clothing inspired by unusually traditional Spanish sources. The Basque fashion designer took replicas from regional clothing, folk costumes, bullfights, flamenco dances, Catholicism and, of course, from the history of painting. And in the end, he created what conquered the world for centuries.
The Balenciaga collection is full of stocky silhouettes, stooped shoulders and neat trouser lines. But the fashion house today, under the leadership of Demna Gvasalia, represents a completely different aesthetic than what Cristobal himself did during his lifetime. “They cannot be compared,” explains Eloy Martinez de la Pera, curator of the new Balenciaga and Spanish Painting exhibition in Madrid, which combines ninety works of the Balenciaga couture with 56 masterpieces of Spanish painting that inspired the designer. “Balenciaga’s story ended when he stopped making clothes. His story was extremely personal, but today Balenciaga has a completely different story, and it is also worth telling. ” And in order to truly recognize Cristobal himself, it is important to know the key elements of Spanish art that shaped his aesthetic vision. Continue reading