“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.
Leading luxury brand are shaking things up to keep up with streetwear. Case in point: the arrival of @mrkimjones as artistic director of @diorhomme. Jones, who succeeds @@Kris_Van_Assche, is seen as one of the handful of designers who can actually straddle the luxury and streetwear worlds — which could lead to even more changes at established brands. What could this mean for the rest of the menswear landscape? Head to WWD.com to find out what experts predict #wwdfashion (📷: @franckmura)
“It’s like buying groceries. You’re going to buy the best mango, the best mozzarella, the best things. You have to, or others are going to take it all,” said @gabrielahearst on why she uses only the finest fabrics. Last week, Hearst received her first @cfda nomination for Womenswear Designer of the Year, and earlier this month she opened a permanent showroom in Paris. To read @jessiredale’s interview with the designer and find out why this is shaping up to be a big year for her, head to WWD.com. #wwdfashion (📷: @francoisgoize)
“It’s an interesting thing, playing a younger version of your mother. It’s an interesting concept. I adore my mom and love her in every capacity, but it was just something that had never crossed my mind,” says @anniemstarke on playing a young Joan Castleman in “The Wife.” The same role will be played by her mother Glenn Close. Read more about her growing up in the film industry as the daughter of producer John H. Starke and Close and what she has planned for the future #wwdeye (📷: @nataliamantini)
@asics is launching a new streetwear sneaker inspired by its latest ambassador, @steveaoki. The Hyper-Kenzen x Aoki, which will launch at @footlocker stores exclusively tomorrow, is a slip-on style that incorporates the brand’s proprietary Gel technology through beads integrated into the midsole for comfort and endurance. Read the full story on WWD.com.
@beyonce chose a custom gown by @falgunishanepeacockindia for mother @mstinalawson 's second annual Wearable Art Gala last night. The gown, which took 10 days to make, was inspired by Nubian warrior queen Amanishakheto. Reporting by @hernameislex . #wwdeye 👑 🐝#beyonce
After dressing @justintimberlake for his Super Bowl halftime performance last month, @stellamccartney has designed the star’s "Man of the Woods" tour wardrobe. Timberlake will be wearing a mix of pieces from McCartney’s fall men's collection as well as custom designs and items from his own closet. #wwdfashion