Balenciaga Exhibition at the V&A

A few weeks ago, my friend and I visited the V&A Museum to view the Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion exhibition. The exhibition features a selection of vintage clothing from Spanish designer, Cristóbal Balenciaga, as well as more contemporary pieces by his successors. I went mainly for the vintage pieces but was impressed with the exhibition on the whole. I did not know much about Balenciaga prior to our visit except for his famous balloon-shaped evening dresses.

Silk gazer and lace evening dress, Paris, 1962. Influenced by mantillas.

Silk organza with embroidery by Lesage evening dress, Paris, 1960. Influenced by Valencian dress.

Silk velvet with glass beading evening jacket, Spain, 1947. Influenced by bullfighting chaquetilas.

Forgot to get the details on this one!

Corded silk evening dress, Paris, 1960. The amphora line, inspired by the shape of Greek vases.

Satin and lace baby doll cocktail dress, Paris, 1958.

Silk cocktail dress, Paris, 1958. Inspired by kimono sleeves and belts.

A 19th Century bustle-inspired satin evening dress, Paris, 1955.

Silk taffeta evening dress, Paris, 1954. Inspired by balloon skirts worn by Ibizan women.

Silk damask evening dress and cape, Madrid, 1960. Donated to the V&A in memory of Hollywood actress, Ava Gardner.

Net and ostrich feathers, lined with silk organza evening coat, Madrid, 1964. Also donated to the V&A in memory of Ava Gardner.

Printed silk day dress, Madrid, early 1950’s. ‘Everyday couture’

Silk day dress with bolero, Madrid, early 1950’s. ‘Everyday couture’

Silk gazer with silver strip, pastes, and sequins evening dress, Paris, 1959. The embroidery is possibly by Rébé.

Silk embroidered dress. Inspired by floral Manila shawls.

Painted silk dress, Paris, 1955/56. Inspired by Chinese wallpaper.

Lace evening dress and shawl, Paris, 1952.

Silk gazer evening dress, Madrid, 1965. Nicknamed the ‘tulip’ dress by critics but inspired by kimonos (back).

On the left: wool skirt suit, Paris, 1951. On the right: wool skirt suit, Paris, 2016.

A very classic Balenziaga suit: Wool tweed lined with silk skirt suit, Paris, 1954.

A skirt or a cape? Versatile silk grosgrain evening skirt/cape, Spain, 1956.

Embroidered silk satin with rhinestones, pearls and beads, Paris, 1950. The sash was inspired by those draped around saints in 17th Century paintings.

Brocaded silk by Leonard and beading by Lesage evening dress, Paris, 1965. Inspired by Indian saris.

Net, silk taffeta, feathers, braid and beads evening dress, Givenchy, Paris, 1960. I had no idea that Hubert de Givenchy was Balenciaga’s protege!

White cotton winged hat, Paris, 1967 and black silk sail hat, Paris, 1967.

It was very difficult to take good photos with so much glare from all the glass cases and reflections of other viewers. So it’s best to see the dresses in person to admire the details! The exhibition is on until 18 February 2018.


Admission: £12
Opening times: Mon-Sun 10-17:30 (until 21:30 on Friday).

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