ARTIST RESEARCH - CRISTOBAL BALENCIAGA

Cristobal Balenciaga was born in 1895 in Getaria, a small fishing village in the Basque region of northern Spain. He was first introduced to the world of fashion by his mother who was a seamstress at the time being. Her clients consisted of the most fashionable and glamorous women in the village. When Balenciaga was just aged 12, he began an apprenticeship at a tailor's in the neighbouring fashionable resort of San Sebastian, during 1917 he first established his own fashion house which he named Eisa which was a shortened version of his mother's maiden name. 

I specifically chose this photograph of his envelope garment as it has a distinct shape to it. Although it may not be geometric to what I kept looking for, its aesthetics still gives a similar vibe of which geometric shapes do, the look of possible discomfort and unusual shape when draped on the body. The envelope dress was a continue of the baby doll dress which was created in the late 1950s where the theme of abstracting with the body continued with its trapezoid shape that skimmed the waist. The envelope dress came in the late 60s where the shape of the envelope dress is shown to be very dramatic sculptural form moulded from Balenciaga's favourite fabric. The fabric is stiff but lightweight made out of silk gazar. Although the garment was popular with the fashion press, only two of the garments were sold and one was returned because the client could not figure out how to go to the bathroom in it. 

 

© Christine Kim, all rights reserved

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