Designs that turn the head around, adapting with the style of time, politics and culture, Cristóbal Balenciaga is the name of a man fashion designers call their ‘master’. Because of his out-of-the-box work achieved with the craftsmanship of the highest order, he became a pioneering act in the fashion industry. Though he never wanted to be in the limelight, his work has always become the centre of attraction since he opened his first store.

With his namesake fashion label, Balenciaga single-handedly went and combined the tradition of the past with the present and set a new high for the future fashion generation. Known for his never before seen shapes in women’s fashion in the mid-20s, he is not only a designer but a pioneer to all the designers.

Balenciaga: the master and his vision

Cristóbal Balenciaga was born in 1895, in Getaria. His mother was a dressmaker, where his influence comes from, and his father was a fisherman. His dream was to become a couturier. With this passion, he started working as an apprentice in a tailor shop at 11. He opened his first store at the age of 12 in San Sebastián. Because of the Civil war, he moved his work to Paris in 1937. It is where he opened his first couture shop at Avenue George V.

With his use of black and red and country elements like lace, the brand became a master for timeless style. He combined his home elements with the new fashion trends. His first line of dresses was inspired by the Spanish Renaissance, whereas the second one was from the Princess of Spain’s dresses.

The designer’s fondness for his native land always made its way into his designs. He took the Spanish bullfighter’s boleros and turned it into something extraordinary for the elite. His detailed architecture of dresses and unique taste made the European aristocracy, especially the most powerful and beautiful women, his most devoted customers.

He was an exceptional designer who preferred to work directly on a mannequin rather than over a table. Cutting fabric with both hands with perfect lining and skill, he was a true artist of his craft. He renovated women’s fashion. With delicate detailing, comprehensive shoulder designs, he made the luxurious silhouette a star of any show.

The change in style

In the ’60s, the change in social, political and cultural fields made a revolution in the fashion industry. The rock n roll music, pop culture and hippie movement made the society want something different to wear, something different for the working-class women. That is why the brand established a new branch in its fashion department. The prêt-à-porter: the department that follows the world’s culture and society in times of need was born.

Ready-to-wear clothes were being produced in the form of art and sold in selected numbers. It abolished the relationship between atelier and customer and replaced it with an independent purchasing scenario. Furthermore, the Maison offered standard-sized clothes instead of custom-fitted dresses. In simple words, the use of general clothes in an artistic form was introduced.

The search for an unconventional style, unique but easy to wear clothes, the rediscovery of the feminine body through mini dresses and miniskirts, the energy of pop colours, the optical and geometrical prints represented the birth of a new aesthetic. However, this was not in line with Balenciaga’s ideals. Indeed, whenever someone asked him what his thoughts were on this new trend, he always quipped that he would never ‘prostitute’ his talent. So, in 1968, at the peak of his success, he preferred to retire from the scenes and protect his legacy as the most stylish and elegant tailor.

His fashion house, on the other hand, continued its journey bearing his name and spirit. Bringing unconventional style, unique designs that are easy to wear at the same time was introduced. Moreover, the brand embraced the latest street trends in its new line of clothes for women. The label’s recent history may not be entirely what its founder envisioned, but it is still revolutionising fashion like the master.

The latest release

Demna Gvasalia, a Georgian designer, is the current head designer of the brand. His approach is to deconstruct and create something new out of it. His inspiration comes from sportswear, ensuring comfort, functionality and mobility more than traditional dresses and streetwear.

Among other things, Balenciaga has now introduced its line of footwear, especially sock sneakers. Their Speed Sock attracted much attention among the trend crazy influencers and fashion enthusiasts. The sock-like construction will elevate performance and establish a sporty profile for the user.Balenciaga will always be known for making dramatic changes with time and history. According to the world’s social and cultural demands, it has always adopted the trend and set a new aesthetic for the users.