Balenciaga

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Balenciaga is a world-renowned fashion company founded in Paris in 1937 by Spanish fashion designer Cristóbal Balenciaga (1885-1972). Balenciaga's fashion was internationally... Read more
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Interesting Facts

Balenciaga is a world-renowned fashion company founded in Paris in 1937 by Spanish fashion designer Cristóbal Balenciaga (1885-1972).

Balenciaga's fashion was internationally regarded as the epitome of high-priced French haute couture, especially between the 1940s and 1960s, and set groundbreaking trends for the entire fashion world. The European high society as well as the American moneyed aristocracy were his clientele. He designed the wedding dress for Queen Fabiola, and Princess Bismarck, Barbara Hutton, Marlene Dietrich, Ingrid Bergmann and many others had themselves dressed by him.

Balenciaga combined Parisian chic with Spanish pride in his sometimes architecturally detailed designs, which included models adorned with flamenco ruffles or bows, elegant bolero jackets (1946), and the pompous-style "Infanta" evening gown (1939) influenced by the 1659 Velázquez painting "The Infanta Margarita in Blue." Modern concepts included knee-length boots with short, straight-cut dresses (the so-called "I" line), kimono-inspired sleeves (1946), pageboy caps ("pillbox hat," 1951), the tunic dress (1955), oversized proportions (1957), the babydoll silhouette (1958), balloon-like dresses and coats (1960), or ensembles with different front and back views.

A proud Basque and couturier of the old aristocratic school with an unerring sense of elegance, a preference for black and exquisite heavy fabrics, he categorically rejected any concession to prêt-à-porter or mass-produced ready-to-wear. Balenciaga retreated consistently and with his head held high when the pop generation conquered the fashion world at the end of the 1960s.

In 1947, the first Balenciaga perfume for women, "Le Dix" (named after number 10 on Avenue George V in Paris), was launched. In 1958, Parfums Balenciaga S.A. was founded as a subsidiary of Balenciaga S.A. for the growing perfume division of the house. In 1962, the first fragrance for men, "Eau de Balenciaga for Men," was launched. Other well-known creations followed, including "Quadrille" (1950), "Ho Hang" (1971), "Michelle" (1979), "Balenciaga pour Homme" (1990), "Cristobal" (1998) and "Cristobal pour Homme" (2000).

After Balenciaga's death, Parfums Balenciaga S.A. was integrated into Balenciaga S.A.. Between 1978 and the present, the perfume business changed hands to various corporations (Hoechst, Jacques Bogart, Gucci, Coty). In 2010, "Balenciaga Paris" was launched, the first women's perfume directed by Coty. Since then, Balenciaga has not offered men's fragrances.
Research and text by MaravilhasMaravilhas