Balenciaga was founded in 1917 by Cristóbel Balenciaga in Spain. Balenciaga was highly respected and viewed as ‘the master of us all’ by Christian Dior. The Spanish Royal Family wore Balenciaga designs, but Balenciaga himself was forced to move to Paris during the Spanish Civil War. Opening a store in Paris in 1937, the French saw him as a ‘revolutionary’, and from here, the success only continued. In challenging silhouettes and the ways in which clothing worked on a woman’s body, styles such as the tunic and the balloon skirt were developed. New and radical cuts, fabrics and shapes made Balenciaga pieces extremely sought after.
Closing the fashion house in 1968, Cristóbel Balenciaga died in 1972. The brand was re-opened in 1986, and is currently owned by Kering, with Demna Gvasalia as Creative Director. The brand encapsulates ready-to-wear for women and men, shoes, bags and accessories.
Balenciaga’s history can be recognised in the current designs through the use of sculptural shapes and interesting fabrics to challenge conventional silhouettes. Gvasalia continues to create innovative designs that the brand has always been known for, breaking boundaries of style expectations. Today, Balenciaga is transformative through its combination of luxe and street style, taking high fashion down new routes of relaxed clothing and shapes, statement bags and oversized shoes. Certainly the new forms of footwear by Balenciaga, such as the sock shoes are becoming iconic to the brand.
Balenciaga have over 100 stores across the globe, including London, LA, Kyoto, Dubai and Milan. Their designs can be purchased through the Balenciaga website and online at Flannels, Selfridges and Net-a-Porter.