Balenciaga, L’Oeuvre au Noir at Musée Bourdelle

Luxurious simplicity united with artisan tailoring launched Cristobel Balenciaga into the rarefied world of global haute couture. The Palais Galliera pays homage to the couturiers’ couturier with the Spanish designer being celebrated at the elegant Musée Bourdelle in Paris, a superb museum that is home to extraordinary sculptures, photos and drawings.

Cristobal Balenciaga (1895-1972). Boléro robe fourreau. 1947-1948. Galliera, musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris.

The retrospective traces Balenciaga’s Spanish childhood that was the inspiration for many of his designs – particularly those in Black – that reflected the folklore and traditions of his upbringing. Balenciaga’s tailoring skills are legendary: he launched the balloon dress (1950), the tunic dress (1955), and the sack dress (1957).

Cristobal Balenciaga (1895-1972).. Calotte 1960 Galliera, musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris.Julien Vidal/Galliera/Roger-Viollet

The exhibition includes stunning examples of his suits, jackets, capes, and quiet understatement in evening outfits and cocktail dresses. Balenciaga’s designs were austere – almost monastic – yet were so powerful because of the construction in silk velvet, lace, silk taffeta and fine wools. Over one hundred pieces from The Galliera Collections and Maison Balenciaga archives are included in the exhibition.  Both Balenciaga L’Oeuvre au Noir and Musée Bourdelle are a must see!  Through 16 July 2017. www.bourdelle.paris.fr JG

Top image: Balenciaga Veste et robe 1965-1966 Collection Palais Galliera – Julien Vidal/Galliera/Roger-Viollet