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Museum Exhibit: Balenciaga and Spain

Apr 27, 2011
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A sampling of Balenciaga’s more modern and abstract designs in  "Balenciaga and Spain" at the de Young Museum in San Francisco through July 4, 2011

“BALENCIAGA AND SPAIN” RUNS THROUGH JULY 4
San Francisco’s de Young Museum, located in Golden Gate Park, is currently running the exciting exhibit Balenciaga and Spain.” The exhibit examines the influence of Spainish culture, history, and traditions on the work of haute couture master Cristóbal Balenciaga. The exhibition is organized into six separate sections, each demonstrating a different cultural inspiration for Balenciaga’s designs. Hamish Bowles, the European editor-at-large for Vogue, is guest curator. The exhibit will continue through July 4, 2011, and you won’t want to miss it if you live in the San Francisco area or plan a visit in the coming months.

BALENCIAGA’S INFLUENCES ARE CLEARLY DISPLAYED
The exhibit features 120 haute couture garments and accessories designed by Balenciaga (1895–1972). It illustrates his expansive creative vision, which incorporated references to Spanish art, bullfighting, dance, regional costume, and the pageantry of the royal court and religious ceremonies. The cultural and historical influences are clearly shown, such as a dress ruffle inspired by the flourish of a flamenco dancer’s skirt, and a paillette-studded embroidered bolero jacket that glitters as if on a nineteenth-century matador’s jacket. Balenciaga’s impeccable tailoring, innovative fabric choices, and technical mastery transformed the way the world’s most stylish women dressed.

BALENCIAGA WAS HIGHLY REGARDED BY FASHION CRITICS
As legendary fashion editor Diana Vreeland vividly described him: “Balenciaga was the true son of a strong country filled with style, vibrant color, and a fine history,” who “remained forever a Spaniard.” Curator Hamish Bowles notes, “Balenciaga’s ceaseless explorations and innovations ensured that his work was as intriguing and influential in his final collection as it had been in his first.” Cecil Beaton, Academy Award-winning stage and costume designer for films and the theater, hailed him as “Fashion’s Picasso.”

IF YOU CAN’T MAKE IT TO THE EXHIBIT, YOU’LL WANT THE BOOK
A book of the exhibition, “Balenciaga and Spain,” authored by Hamish Bowles is published by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and Skira Rizzoli and is available through the Museum Store. The hardcover volume is $65 ($58.50/members) and the paperback edition is $39.95 ($35.96/members). If you can’t make it to the exhibit, the book is the next best thing.

DON’T MISS THREADS ISSUE 156 FOR EVEN MORE
You’ll also want to read more about Balenciaga in the August/September issue of Threads (no. 156) which is due on newsstands after July 12, 2011, or with your subscription to Threads.

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  1. amm May 6th

    Queenellabella, please share some of the things you like most about the exhibit after you visit it. It will probably make us all envious!

  2. User avater queenellabella May 5th

    Hoping to get to this exhibit this weekend!

  3. User avater eMMb April 28th

    His designs always seem to me to be the essence of elegance!

  4. User avater pinkkangaroo April 27th

    These dresses are amazing! I wish that I was that talented.

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