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Balenciaga Retrospective Set

Balenciaga will get the museum treatment in 2006.

PARIS — Balenciaga will get the museum treatment in 2006.

Confirming a report in these columns Feb. 11, the Museum of Fashion and Textiles at the Louvre said Monday a retrospective tracing the house’s legacy — from founder Cristobal Balenciaga through its present designer Nicolas Ghesquiere — would bow next July during the Paris couture shows.

The show, spread over the museum’s two floors, will not be chronological, but rather thematic, showcasing archival designs along side those of Ghesquiere, who began his rejuvenation drive at Balenciaga in 1997.

Contemporary artist Dominique Gonzales-Foerster and lighting designer Benoit Lalloz, who collaborate with Ghesquiere on Balenciaga boutiques, have been tapped to design the exhibition.

The curator is Pamela Golbin, the fashion museum’s conservator in charge of 20th-century collections, with Ghesquiere as an associate curator. Sponsors of the exhibition, and other details, have yet to be finalized.

But the Louvre showcase will surely raise the profile of one of Gucci Group’s smaller, but most influential fashion houses and designers. Considered one of its emerging brands, a category that also includes Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney, Balenciaga faces a 2007 deadline to reach breakeven.

Ghesquiere should be well prepared for the exhibition, having dedicated staff in recent years to catalogue the Balenciaga clothing and accessories archive. Every season, he introduces select styles under the label Balenciaga Edition.