Friday, December 03, 2010

Balenciaga & Spain

Balenciaga This has been a Balenciaga + Spain week.

Balenciaga I visited the Balenciaga exhibit at the Queen Sophia Spanish Institute at 684 Park Avenue on Tuesday (on through Feb 19 so don't miss it)

Three floors of exquisite examples of the maitre/master of couture.

Balenciaga Plus designer sketches and catwalk videos. Drawings by Rene Gruau.

Balenciaga Everywhere evidence of Balenciaga's Spanish background, as an altar boy at the Church of San Sabastien.

Plus influence of the great Spanish painters like Zuniga.

Balenciaga Picasso, Goya and of course Velasquez.
*Note the infanta's multi satin bows!

Balenciaga Bows are everywhere on Balenciaga's creations.

Balenciaga Bows both fore and aft.

BalenciagaThe bow acts as a feminine touch to soften a simple, austere gown like this one covered in red carnations, the national flower of Spain.

Deep red gypsy roses show up on Balenciaga's amusing hats...
"Wit was on the head, where it should be."

BalenciagaRose Champagne, original watercolor 9" x 11"
Inspired me to get out my paintbox.

The bull ring was a favorite inspiration though Balenciaga did not like to attend the slaughter. 'the suit of lights', the tiny hats, the rituals fascinated him, and French women were delighted to follow where ever he led them.

Balenciaga "A ruffle must be intelligent," he told his protege, Givenchy.
 Audrey benefited from Balenciaga's tutelage to her chosen designer.

The flavor of Joquin Sorolla's flamenco dancers is evident in richly embroidered mantilla dresses.

Balenciaga Last night at FIT, Vogue European editor, Hamish Bowles gave a lecture on the exhibit he helped curate and his new book on Balenciaga & Spain, coming out March '11

Seen side by side, the Spanish source of inspiration + the unique creations endlessly amazed.

Do go to the exhibit and immerse yourself in an elegant world long gone.

Balenciaga "Working sometimes on the cut of a sleeve, he would neglect all else and go without food or sleep for days and nights." said Gloria Guinness, couture client.


  1. Justine10:52 AM

    Gorgeous post!

  2. I want that red velvet coat. I want it really bad. And I want to wear it while playing my harp this weekend for the college choir I'm accompanying!

  3. Wow, the dresses are fabulous! Thks for sharing the illustrations of Rene Gruau, I love his fashion illustrations!

  4. Love Balenciaga,yes. But wanted to say that GG also alerted UK visitors to a current Somerset House exhibition on RG for Dior exhibit. I rarely do this but here's the link. xo/Susan & GG

  5. Ahhhh, Balenciaga--I always thought his creations were so full of drama and femininity. Great photos of him in action! Lovely.

  6. That exhibition looks wonderful Carol....xv

  7. His clothes are PERFECT for harpist Amy!!

  8. haven't been here for awhile but hoping to catch up a bit.

    love that quote: must be an "intelligent ruffle"! truer words never spoke!

  9. I have heard nothing but raves for Hamish on this exhibit. His direction of telling the whole story through photos and paintings that inspired was genius. So jealous of anyone that attended the lecture...maybe it is on youtube? (crossing fingers!)

  10. Wonderful post.
    The instant you point out these resemblances to the Spanish artists, culture, bullring, etc., they are obviously true.
    But I had never ever thought of them! So thanks for the surprise and the added, more complex, enjoyment.

  11. That opening shot is a gem! I love that one!
    The rest of the post is an art exhibit depicting an art exhibit :)
    Really beautifully done!

  12. I love the way you pull in illustrations of B's influences!!!

  13. Anonymous10:30 PM

    I would wear the austere carnation gown anytime even doing house cleaning...It'a a piece that last and last through time. I wish the clothes I buy would stay nice longer after two washes it fells apart. ( made in China )

  14. Anna-Maria A.7:04 AM

    Magnifique capsule of the expo!
    And nice to see your refreshing watercolors again!

  15. Superb!
    Living as we do near Spain in France and loving both equally, Balenciaga captures the best of both worlds.

  16. It's nice to see a different culture Carol! I love Spain as well as France. It's definitely a cultre infused with passion, don't you think?

  17. Dear PB~
    Loved the Balenciaga post!
    Sorolla is one of my favorite artists as well.
    Nice to see a PB painting!

  18. Thanks so much for the Balenciaga! One of my favorite designers! Wonderful pictures Carol.

  19. Devine!
    Thank you for sharing your visit,
    most inspiring.

  20. Perfect combination. Baleciaga and Spain.. Love it.. Carla

  21. Danna in LA4:45 PM

    I just wanted to say simply: thank you, thank you for your beautiful and inspiring blog. You give us a lovely present every day & it is appreciated.

  22. Just discovered your fabulous blog - it is beautiful! If you are interested in food & wine stop on by and visit at I am already looking forward to your next post!

  23. Anonymous9:29 PM


    Thanks for sharing this link - but unfortunately it seems to be down? Does anybody here at have a mirror or another source?


  24. some of these beautiful clothes made me think of a snippet from Rocky Horror: "...I wanted to be dressed just the same."

  25. Wonderful! I have an opera coat (I think that is what it's called) of a lovely champagne satin with ruched sleeves, that was my mothers. I always feel like a movie star in it...


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