The exhibit's exploration of the influence of the Spanish masters, religious life, dance, the royal court, bull fighting and regional dress on the legendary designer left me wanting more of the country of Velazquez and Goya, of The Sun Also Rises and Flamenco, of Gothic splendor and Moorish influence.
Balenciaga Infanta Dress illustrated by Eric (Carl Erickson) Vogue 1939
The Infanta Margarita in Las Meninas by Valezquez
Balenciaga Infanta Dress, 1939
We were actually supposed to go to Bhutan this year, but I fell down on the job of planning that adventure. So when I asked Mr. H. where he might want to go instead, I was thrilled when he said Spain!
Cardinal Luis Maria de Borbon y Vallabriga, Goya
Balenciaga Red Coat 1951
Balenciaga Show 1951
Before we knew it, the reservations were made, bags were packed and off we went. We spent hours gazing at the Goyas in the Prado, inspecting the Baroque and Gothic splendor of churches and cathedrals, wandering through the narrow streets of Andalusia, staring up at the brightly painted facades.
But where art, fashion, music and culture really came together for me was in a Sevilla taverna where we went to see Flamenco.
Balenciaga Studio Drawing
It was like watching John Singer Sargent's El Jaleo come to life.
El Jaleo, John Singer Sargent
And as the dancers stomped and whirled, I didn't just see vintage Balenciaga couture...
Balenciaga Summer 1951
I saw the polka dots and lace that have been so predominant on Fashion Week runways in recent seasons.
Balenciaga Summer 1964
Dennis Oulds/Central Press/Getty Images
Oscar de la Renta
I saw the fluttering layers of chiffon in the Oscar de la Renta dress my friend Dana wore to her 40th birthday party.
Dana's Party Dress
It made me want to take a few Flamenco lessons and buy some castanets and something from the Oscar de la Renta resort collection.
Oscar de la Renta
By the way, if you're craving a little Spanish inspiration but can't travel quiet that far, you can catch "Joaquin Sorolla and the Glory of Spanish Dress" at the Queen Sophia Spanish Institute. The exhibition, which runs from December 8 to March 10, celebrates, in the words of chairman Oscar de la Renta, "Spain its people, its landscape, and life."
Flamenco Dancer, Joquin Sorolla
It's a place that I think will be influencing me for years to come.