Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Beautiful Balenciaga

This post is for PVE, who is dreaming of traveling to Spain. And doesn't that sound delicious? (Especially after a snowy day in Seattle!) If you have plans to visit Manhattan anytime soon, you can get a little hit of Spain by taking in the "Balenciaga: Spanish Master" exhibition at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute on Park Avenue.

Image from Vogue.com

The exhibition, curated by Vogue's dashing Hamish Bowles, opened last Friday and runs through February 19. (Mr. Bowles also curated the stunning Jacqueline Kennedy exhibit at the Met in 2001.)

Hamish Bowles with Annette de la Renta at a party celebration the exhibit (image Vogue.com)

Although Cristóbal Balenciaga rose to fame after establishing his fashion house in Paris, where he fled from the Spain's civil war in 1937, his first haute couture house opened in San Sebastian. The influence that his home country held over his work can be seen in the more than 70 dresses and accessories that are on display in the exhibition.

A photo from the installation (image from the New York Times)

The court paintings of Velázquez, the Catholic church, flamenco, and bull fighters--all of these influences resonate through Balenciaga's collections.

Left, a Flamenco-inspired dress from 1951; An evening look with toreador bolero from 1946 (images from New York Magazine). 

Bowles told Vogue's Jessica Kerwin Jenkin's that in researching the house's archives, "I saw endless Spanish resonance."

Balenciaga “Infanta” evening dress, 1939 (left); Balenciaga evening dress and stole, 1952(images from New York Magazine).

The idea for the exhibition came from Oscar de la Renta, who started his career at Balenciaga. You can see the influence his Spring 2011 collection.

Image from Vogue.com

"A little bit of Baleciaga," he said to Bowles backstage following his Spring 2011 show, which held echos of 1950s Madrid.

Image from Vogue.com

Image from Vogue.com

Image from Vogue.com 

For those of us on the West Coast, an expanded exhibition travels to the de Young Museum in San Francisco in March. More on the exhibition here and here.


  1. Thank-you! love for you to join me in Spain for a little tapas and some sangria after the exhibit!
    Happy week to you~

  2. Sounds perfect! Happy to you, too! : - )



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