“Balenciaga: Spanish Master,” which opens to the public at the Queen Sofía Spanish Institute in New York on Friday, is as much about the clothes of Spain’s most revered designer as it is about the way in which Spanish culture, history and art influenced him.
Cristóbal Balenciaga, who fled his native country at the time of the Spanish Civil War, sought his inspiration from the country’s religious and royal dress and ceremony, as well as regional attire and the Spanish flair for dance and bullfight.
Curator Hamish Bowles, Vogue’s European editor at large, culled pieces from the Balenciaga archives in Paris and several private collections, along with the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The 76 garments are exhibited in two galleries. Those in the main room are “influenced by historic royal costumes, Spanish art, religious life and ceremony,” Bowles said at a walkthrough on Monday. “One thing that came up during my research is how religious Balenciaga was. His uncle was a priest at the church of St. Salvador in Getaria.”
To that end, many of the pieces have their inspiration in the church, from a severe black silk crepe dress with a silk gazar wrap from 1967 to a red Cardinal evening coat from 1954.
The lower-floor gallery space showcases the more exuberant side of Spain that inspired Balenciaga, with regional design elements and costumes of the bullfight, as well as fishermen’s blouses from the Basque region. A 1950 bolero of pink silk faille and a black silk charmeuse romper loosely resemble a matador outfit and once belonged Pauline de Rothschild.
On Wednesday night, Queen Sofía of Spain will be in New York to officially inaugurate the exhibit at an event hosted by Oscar de la Renta, who serves as the chairman of the institute’s board and who conceived the idea for the exhibit.
Guests that night will find it’s not just dresses that get their moment in the spotlight. The exhibit also has plenty of whimsical Balenciaga hats on show. “Pauline de Rothschild once said that wit is on the head, where it should be,” Bowles mused.
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion