Tag: Cristóbal Balenciaga


The new installation of the galleries comes from an invitation from the Cristobal Balenciaga Museum to respond to the new curatorial route through the archive. The exhibition Cristobal Balenciaga Fashion and Heritage collects together moments in the history of the houses Balenciaga established in Spain and in Paris, and each chapter illuminates different modes of display: the aesthetics and romance of the archive, of conservation, of performed museologies that evolve and revolve around these monuments of dress history. The exhibition format allows us to build up associations and conversations across collections, each adding a new perspective. My own conversations and installation pays homage to the new routes through the archive in the way that a new visitor might, finding one’s own associations to the material. The design therefore quotes remembered past exhibitions that have paid homage to Balenciaga bringing another kind of reference to the project. We see the work through the eyes, for example, of Diana Vreeland, Marie- Andrée Jouve, Pamela Golbin, Kaat Debo, Miren Arzullaz, Hamish Bowles or Olivier Saillard, among the many curators,  researchers and fashion historians who have sought new approaches to Balenciaga’s legacy, that are shown along the route as props. The architecture is temporary against the fixed vitrines of the museum: the tension between fashion and heritage underlining the questions the exhibition itself raises.

Judith Clark, March 2018

Fig 1: Left, The Salon, Gesmonite. Right, Rebuilding Janine Janet’s Balenciaga window of avenue George V in Paris, 1956.

Fig 2: Left, How might we acknowledge an exhibition as a prop to a new one? A homage to Olivier Saillard. Right, Film Stills from the salon.

Fig. 3: Left, Hamish Bowles’s exhibition Balenciaga and Spain looked at his roots in traditional dress. His chapter on Dance is populated with images of the models in the salon wearing white gloves. Right, Naomi Filmer’s gesmonite gestures.


Fig 4 The map of Clark’s research inserted into the museum leaflet. Charlie Smith Design.



Balenciaga symposium at the V and A Museum

The V&A hosted a symposium celebrating Spanish designer Cristóbal Balenciaga’s influence on fashion to coincide with an exhibition about the designer. MA Fashion Curation student, Xinyi Li, attended the day.

The symposium of the exhibition Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion at V&A provided enriching insights into not only the making and curating of the current exhibition, but also multiple perspectives into Cristóbal Balenciaga’s métier and life.

The book ‘Balenciaga My Boss’ about the family’s generations of friendship and partnership with Balenciaga about the family’s generations of  friendship and partnership with Balenciaga, has been released in English

To start, V&A senior curator Lesley Miller and the exhibition’s assistant curator Kirsty Hassard set the day’s theme with the keyword “Legend.” The following speakers’ practices contributed significantly to the making of the exhibition.

Conservator Joanne Hackett presented behind the scenes experience of conservation and installation of the garments. She spoke of the importance of investigating the characteristics of each object in terms of its materiality, volume and fit, and in turn, sculpting customised mannequins for presentation.

Slide showing customised mannequin in hourglass shape constructed to display Anne Bullit’s gown

Nick Veasey introduced us to his practice as an x-ray photographic artist. Prior to this collaboration, he had prominently worked with objects that are mechanical and structural, but clothe and textile. Thus, during the collaboration, he had discovered many techniques of x-ray photographing garments, such as the use of balloons to create volume, while remained invisible in the photograph. Due to the special conditions of this job, he built a special mobile x-ray studio from a truck, which was divided into shooting area and development area.

Photographs showing X Ray artist Nick Vessey working at his X ray mobile studio

As Balenciaga’s trusted dressmaker in San Sebastien Juan Mari Emilass life long work and relationship with Balenciaga could be closely observed through the precious letters, paper patterns, documentations that he had kept over the years.

Balenciaga’s dressmaker in San Sebastien, Juan Mari Emilass shows his collection of papers that document the relationship.

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Balenciaga in Mexico City – by its curator Javier González de Durana

As the first exhibition of Cristóbal Balenciaga in Latin America opened earlier this year at the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico City  María Fernanda Sela talked to Javier González de Durana, curator of the exhibition and former director at the Balenciaga Museum in Spain, to find out how the exhibition was made possible.

María Fernanda Sela: How was the process of selecting the objects for this very first exhibition about Balenciaga in Latin America?

Javier González de Durana: Balenciaga’s production was huge; he presented two collections with 100 and 150 looks each every year. Considering he worked for over 32 years in Paris, there are around 7,000 to 9,000 items in total. The selection for the exhibition presents objects from different styles and eras. What is not explained with dresses, is expressed with a series of photographs from Manuel Outumuro. However, no matter how it’s exhibited, there will always be a lot of Balenciaga to discover.

White Wedding Gown, never exhibited before, belonging to one of Balenciaga’s assistants. "Whenever someone turned 25 or was about to get married" says Javier González de Durana "he let them pick a design to make a new dress and gave it as a present. " Image courtesy of Museum of Modern Art, Mexico City.

White Wedding Gown, never exhibited before, belonging to one of Balenciaga’s assistants. “Whenever someone turned 25 or was about to get married” says Javier González de Durana “he let them pick a design to make a new dress and gave it as a present. ” Image courtesy of Museum of Modern Art, Mexico City.

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