Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Balenciaga - shaping fashion exhibition

In my last post I talked about my birthday trip to London and all the fun things that we packed in on our visit. One of the main exhibitions that we wanted to visit was the Balenciaga one at the Victoria and Albert Museum. It did not disappoint!

The exhibition looks at both the work and the legacy of Balenciaga. The first part of the exhibition focuses on his work, with plenty of glorious clothes to look at. The second part looks at how he influenced people that he worked with and his lasting influences on contemporary designers.

This is a photo heavy post. I couldn't choose!

These are the first dresses that you see. They show two of the influences on Balenciaga's designs; Spanish traditional costume and flamenco. I loved the embroidered flowers on the middle dress.

Stunning sleeves and such vibrant fabric.

These dresses revolved; great to get a 360 view.

Balenciaga is known for his sculptural shapes and in this exhibition there were several garments that were displayed alongside x-rays of the garment so that the internal structure/skeleton could be seen. This was really interesting.

Fabulous draping on the right hand jacket.

The x-ray shows weights in the garment.

I always enjoy seeing designer's sketches. Wish I could draw!

I would take this one!

This sari inspired dress is one of several that Balenciaga made. Unlike an Indian sari this dress is made of several parts and sits over a boned and structured under garment.

These three garments display the wonderful craftsmanship which goes into embellishing some of these garments. The beading, embroidery, use of sequins etc is just exquisite.

1960's wild silk evening dress with embroidery by Lesage.

I would happily have both of these too! I love the big bow on the second one.

A rather lovely suit with a display of tools needed for tailoring.

Another sculptural piece, a 1960's envelope dress. Look at those shoulders!

Some of Balenciaga's clothes, like other designers, were made on licence by smaller firms.

These are Balenciaga designs by the house Eisa, based in Madrid. I really like the floral dress.


These two outfits are from the second half of the exhibition. They are by Andre Courreges who worked as a cutter for Balenciaga from 1950-1961 when he then opened his own fashion house. Both of these designs are from 1967.

These are 1960's designs by Emmanuel Ungaro who was an apprentice of Balenciaga's from 1958 to 1964. He also worked at Eisa.

These fantastic sculptural outfits by Nicolas Ghesquiere are the result of re imagining iconic Balenciaga shapes after having access to the archives of the fashion house.

The gown on the left is an embellished beauty by Givenchy using coral, lace, glass beading and embroidery.

I adore this mass of embroidery on this jacket by Dries Van Noten.

This fabulous embroidered dress is by Erdem, influenced by Balenciaga. You can see the back the previous jacket too.

Nicolas Ghesquiere was the creative director of Balenciaga from 1997 until 2012. This is a reinterpretation of the balloon sleeve from 2006.

I really like the shape of this 2016 trapeze suit by Simone Rocha who credits the shapes of Balenciaga's work as an influence. This is interesting as it is made from a broiderie anglaise created from embroidered plastic.

It is a fabulous exhibition and is on until the 18th February 2018 if you fancy a visit.


  1. I'm not so keen on the overall look of some of the more sculptural pieces, but am in awe of the skill it took to make them, nonetheless - they're more like wearable art than dresses.

    1. I agree, there are several that I think are stunning in terms of structure and engineering that I am not sure I would want to wear.

  2. the structure of the pieces is amazing

    1. It was great to see them close up.

  3. I know Balenciaga was known for the sculptural pieces but for me it was always those beautiful suits, but I guess that's my tailoring internship's influence. The one featured here is stunning!

    I do love that it included toile pieces, as well as sketches and x-rays. It's great to see how designers work. xx

    1. I took the picture of the suit with you in mind as I thought it might appeal to you! I find it fascinating to see all the behind the scenes work that leads to the finished piece. That is why I love exhibitions like this.

  4. So many amazing pieces! I personally love the two cream dresses with flowers. Are they both embroidered or is the second one painted?

    1. They are so pretty. I'm fairly certain the second one was painted/printed and not embroidered.

  5. I absolutely loved this exhibit! So much vintage loveliness!

    1. I enjoyed seeing it again on your Instagram feed!

  6. Wow, I really wish I was in London right now :) Thanks so much for sharing, and overloading us with all these pictures!

    1. I know there were a lot of pictures but I really couldn't choose.