Cristóbal Balenciaga exhibition NY

22Jun10

Historic Cristóbal Balenciaga exhibition to open at Queen Sofia Spanish Institute in New York, showing never before seen designs by the Spanish couture master.

The first in-depth exhibition of the work of Cristóbal Balenciaga, the master Spanish couturier, who dominated Paris haute couture for more than three decades, will open at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute in New York, in November.

The exhibition will be the first to consider the impact of Spain’s culture, history and art on one of its greatest 20th century sons, the lengendary designer who was hailed as “fashion’s Picasso” by Cecil Beaton.

Balenciaga’s innovations, the art of his silhouette, his craftsmanship with volume and his vibrant inspirations, transformed the way women dressed, from the opening of his Paris fashion house in 1937, until his retirement in 1968.

The exhibition will showcase some sixty items designed by Cristóbal Balenciaga , including masterpieces such as his 1939 “Infanta” gown, the matador boleros from 1946, flamenco-inspired dresses from 1951 and 1961, and the extraordinary, embroidered 1957 wedding dress of Sonsoles Díez de Rivera (daughter of Balenciaga’s Spanish muse, the Marquesa de Llanzol), which is as splendid as the vestments of a Sevillana Madonna figure. The exhibition will examine the influences on his designs of the country’s great artists, from Zurbarán and Goya to Picasso and Miró, and of Spain’s religious dress and ceremony, its royal history, its rich regional costume, its dance traditions, and the power and splendor of the bullfight.

The exhibition, on show from November 19, 2010 until February 19, 2011, was conceived by the American designer, Oscar de la Renta, who is Chairman of the Institute’s Board of Directors, and who began his career in fashion, working in Madrid at Eisa, one of the Spanish branches of Balenciaga’s fashion empire.

The exhibition is curated by Hamish Bowles, Vogue’s European editor-at-large, and the curator of the 2001 exhibition Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years.

Mr Bowles has drawn this material, some of which has never before been exhibited, from museum and private collections in America and Europe, including the Balenciaga archive in Paris, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The pieces will consist of garments commissioned and worn by some of the twentieth century’s most iconic taste-making women – Pauline de Rothschild, Mona Bismarck and Thelma Chrysler Foy among them.

The Queen Sofía Spanish Institute was founded as The Spanish Institute in 1954 to promote greater awareness and understanding of the culture of the Spanish-speaking world in the United States, and was renamed in November, 2003 to recognize the support by Her Majesty Queen Sofía of Spain.

BALENCIAGA: Spanish Master, November, 19th, 2010 to February 19th, 2011; Queen Sofía Spanish Institute, 684 Park Avenue New York, New York 10065 http://www.queensofiaspanishinstitute.org for a schedule of events.

TIP by By Hilary Alexander

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