Balenciaga fever swept through the Bay Area bringing with it a star-studded opening night gala at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, and a retrospective exhibit at Nordstrom in Walnut Creek. Both events celebrated the timelessness and iconic beauty of Cristóbal Balenciaga’s (1895-1972) work. Balenciaga’s creative director, Nicolas Ghesquière calls it the DNA of the brand. “It’s part of the patrimony of fashion … it’s everywhere … everyone references Cristóbal ... I’m lucky to be in the house where I can use it without any problem.”
Balanciaga and Spain at San Francisco’s de Young Museum included some 120 garments, hats, and headdresses from the House of Balenciaga in Paris.
Opening Night Gala
Vogue’s Anna Wintour (pictured here with author and guest-curator Hamlish Bowles and Gwyneth Paltrow) wore a vintage Balenciaga sequin gown on opening night.
The modern-day muses for the House of Balenciaga: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jennifer Connelly, Marie-Amélie Sauvé. “She walks with confidence. She’s a bit masculine, even if she wears quite sexy clothes. All the clothes are very fitted. So there is that silhouette and attitude for that urban type of woman. I prefer to speak to those women…” Nicolas Ghesquière
Summer of ‘65
In the Fall 2011 show, Ghesquière closed with a pair of coats inspired this archival 1965 piece. Each one was made from a simple, rectangular piece of fabric. This 1965 coat was featured in Balenciaga and Spain.
Star of the 60s collection exhibited at Nordstrom, this off-shoulder one-piece sari reincarnates again and again -- a 1998 ad for Balanciaga’s fragrance, Christóbal… or on Jennifer Connelly in 2007 at the Costume Institute Gala.
The architectural silhouettes of the House of Balenciaga are timeless. This simple black caped cloque from the 60s archives has the same DNA as the custom made caped silk cloque donned by Julienne Moore.
Beads And Blousons
This archival beaded blouson for evening from the 60s collection is still stunning. The Fall 2011 beaded blouson can be worn day or evening, with a skirt, or with skinny pants and heels.
Balenciaga and Spain
This lavishly illustrated volume by Vogue’s European editor-at-large Hamish Bowles accompanies the exhibition – a must have for fashion lovers. Get it.
Jan Mabry, Red Carpet Bay Area