Explore the classic couture of Balenciaga at the V&A
The contrast between today’s celebrity designers parading their collections at flashy shows around the world and the quiet, enigmatic brilliance of fashion legend Cristobal Balenciaga becomes apparent in the Victoria & Albert Museum exhibition “Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion,” on display through 18 February 2018.
The three-part exhibition — Front of House, Workrooms, and Balenciaga’s Legacy — draws heavily on the V&A’s own large collection of his ‘50s and ‘60s designs (curated famously by Cecil Beaton for a 1970s exhibition), loaned pieces from private collectors, and contributions of more than 30 current design stars displaying his influence on their own careers.
The Basque designer gave only one interview during his career and banned the press from premieres of his collections in his early years, which are represented in the V&A collection — judged by many to be his most creative period. From smart suits, to elegant couture gowns, to iconic designs such as his tunics, shifts and baby doll dresses, Balenciaga’s imprint on the style of those decades and influence on today’s designers becomes evident.
Advancing the understanding of his brilliance is an exhibit of his designs and X-rays to show their meticulous construction.
Tickets are £12, and advance reservations are recommended and available here, along with a guide to the exhibition and related events. The V&A is a pleasant walk from #MyChelseaFlat at the Nell Gwynn, with a wide selection of cafes and pubs available between the two locations.