Balenciaga, working in black

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Balenciaga, working in black by Esprit de France
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The exhibition pays tribute to the couturier Balenciaga in an unusual setting: the sculptor Bourdelle's studio.

In the heart of Montparnasse, the Bourdelle Museum, which is one of the last remaining expressions of the many artist studios that prospered in the capital at the turn of the twentieth Century, was chosen to show the most significant creations of the great couturier Cristobal Balenciaga (1895-1972): a series of black dresses, the color and matter of which are so vibrant that one could imagine them created by the hands of an alchemist of tailoring. In the space of this museum which has kept intact the original areas of the studio of the famous sculptor of the Heracles Archer and the bas reliefs that adorn the façades of the Theater of the Champs-Elysées, the fragile architectures of the clothes conceived by the fashion designer of Spanish Basque origin are disseminated seemingly at random but always in relevant confrontations with the sculptor’s creations. The works of both artists are sculptures of sober and yet sensual gravity.

Black, the brilliance of light to enhance feminine beauty

While Balenciaga has known fame in Paris, working from the start for Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich, he draws the roots of his "works in black" from the folklore and traditions of his Spanish childhood. The intensity of his creations is exalted through a refinement which gives them a unique elegance and timelessness. The harmony of his cuts is the result of a quest for simplicity and purity of forms combined with unrivaled mastery of technique. He was able to revolutionize the conception of women's garments and created new feminine silhouettes with the barrel line (1947), the balloon line (1950), the semi-fitted look (1951), the tunic dress (1955) and the famous sack dress (1957) or the baby doll one (1958). 

Sometimes very fluid and sometimes very structured, his creations are based on very diverse materials: whether it is black lace, organza, taffeta or even gazar (a fabric specially conceived for him) he explores each of them, opposing matt/shiny, opaque/transparent fabrics in a sumptuous interplay and with a number of accessories. Coco Chanel considered him "the only authentic couturier" and Hubert de Givenchy claimed that he was "the architect of haute couture". As for us, we particularly like his lace evening dresses with ruffles enhanced at the waist with a delicate pale pink satin ribbon. Here is a very Parisian event not to be missed!