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BALENCIAGA: Shaping Fashion

Nothing inspires our design team more than looking to fashion’s most iconic designers. Always looking to reinvent and bring something unique to our collections, the V&A’s ‘Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion’ exhibition was at the top of our list to visit this summer.

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The designs by Cristóbal Balenciaga were a beacon of the fashion world, and his Parisian Haute Couture house was amongst the most exclusive and revolutionary during the 1950s. A visionary of fashion architecture, Balenciaga was not afraid to invent new shapes for women; he was ahead of his time with his introduction to the shift dress, the balloon hem, and the baby doll smock. His way of working and his iconic Spanish influences led to his many famous fans such as Ava Gardner and Mona Bismarck, whilst inspiring young designers for decades to come.

Balenciaga was the master of volume

The exhibition opens your eyes to the extent of embellishment and adventurous fabrics used throughout Balenciaga’s years of work. It also highlights the level of detailed craftsmanship and mastered tailoring skills that went into every design; from swatch book backdrops to x-ray photography of his engineered corsetry, no stone is unturned when presenting the work behind every haute couture outfit.

‘Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion at the V&A’ exhibits until the 18th February 2018.

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With Balenciaga, the most beautiful things that were produced were the things that were the most simple and sublime.

– Gareth Pugh

The exhibition also presents a rare curation of pieces which draw creative parallels with Balenciaga’s work by fashion designers who were inspired by his way of thinking. From reinvented tailoring by Alexander McQueen to echoingly voluminous pieces from Rei Kawakubo, not once have such prolific and relevant designers been displayed together to present old against new - all stalking from the ground-breaking work of the House of Balenciaga.

‘Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion at the V&A’ exhibits until the 18th February 2018.

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