X-ray photograph of silk taffeta evening dress by Cristóbal Balenciaga, 1955, Paris, France. X-ray by Nick Veasey, 2016. © Nick VeaseyX-ray photograph of silk taffeta evening dress by Cristóbal Balenciaga, 1955, Paris, France. X-ray by Nick Veasey, 2016. © Nick Veasey
What stood out as superbly impressive was the use of X-ray photography in the exhibition. Ghostly yet remarkable life size X-rays of a selection of dresses are presented next to their real life counterparts. They communicate the absolute attention to detail and the amount of work that went into each and every garment; the skeletons of the dresses are visible, showing the sophisticated manipulation of the fabric that gives them their artful form. This was a complex process undertaken by X-ray photographer Nick Veasey and is a creative endeavour that is not widely used due to its complex, expensive and hazardous process, thus providing a new and rare insight into Balenciaga’s creations, unseen before. And it is only fitting that this modern technology be used to showcase the work of the alleged Master of modernism himself. Renowned for his tailoring, Balenciaga’s training as a seamstress and his input in all aspects and stages of the designing of his clothes sets him apart. With displays of fabric swatches, sketches, fabric patterns and animations of the dresses being draped and designed, the exhibition presents Balenciaga as not only a couturier, designer and fashion icon but an artist. "It is difficult to communicate to a modern audience how much work went into these clothes, because if you buy fashion, you have no concept", Davies-Strodder says of her approach, using the insights into Balenciaga’s process, such as the X-rays, to reveal the complexities and creativity behind his couture.
© Christine Kim, all rights reserved