If you will be asked to name a few of the most globally popular and the most sought-after high-end fashion labels, for sure you will never ever miss out Balenciaga. The Spanish fashion house, based in Paris, is one of those brands that everyone in the fashion industry respects. From the conceptualization to the actual execution, its creative team makes sure that everything goes perfectly. It has become one of the most influential labels in the industry, with most of the fashion press anticipating what they’ll offer each season.
This is the brand that always listens to the changing trends of the industry without compromising its signature style. It holds the same reputation as Gucci, Chanel, Versace, Burberry, and other well-known world-class designers. In terms of styling, Balenciaga is a powerhouse that made couture very extravagant and modish at the same time. Ever since its founding in the fashion scene, it captured the eyes and ears of all fashionistas across the globe. It began with the ingenious founder Cristobal Balenciaga and was followed by creative directors such as Nicolas Ghesquiere, Alexander Wang, and Demna Gvasalia.
Best Places to Shop for Balenciaga
Balenciaga Articles – Women
Balenciaga Articles – Men
Road to becoming a premier couturier
Models walk the runway during the Balenciaga designed by Demma Gvasalia show as part of the Paris Fashion Week SS 2017. Photo: FashionStock.com
The house’s founder, Cristobal Balenciaga, was born on January 21, 1895, in Gipuzkoa, Spain. He spent a good amount of his childhood with his mother, who was a seamstress and he developed a love for dressmaking through her. He eventually apprenticed to a tailor, where the Marchioness de Casa Torres, became one of his first admirers. The most prominent noblewoman in his community, the Marchioness helped Balenciaga get to Madrid to learn more and perfect his craft. Soon, various members of the Spanish aristocracy began wearing his designs.
He opened his first boutique in San Sebastian in 1919. However, when the Spanish Civil War broke out a few years later, he moved to Paris. He established his haute couture house in 1937, amassing a following of extremely loyal admirers. It was said that women would risk travelling to Europe during the Second World War just to see his designs. By the 1950’s, he became one of the premier couturiers in the world. He was beloved by legions of elite clients but had a tumultuous relationship with the fashion press. His fashion show practices usually clashed with the system of the fashion press, yet they still lauded him for his innovative designs. In 1968, he closed his couture house after retiring from the industry. It would re-open the early in 1986 as a ready-to-wear brand.
Nicolas Ghesquiere, Alexander Wang, Demna Gvasalia (left to right)
Although the house reopened in 1986, it didn’t gain the prestige it once held until 1997, when Nicolas Ghesquiere was appointed as creative director of the brand. Throughout his tenure, Ghesquiere pushed Balenciaga back to the forefront of fashion, creating edgy, innovative, and modern looks, most of which are inspired by Cristobal’s own iconic designs. His collections were regularly met with critical acclaim and commercial success. In 2013, American designer Alexander Wang replaced Ghesquiere as head of the design department of the house. Although he gave some commendable collections, he wasn’t as revered as his predecessor during his reign. In 2016, he was replaced by Vetements founder Demna Gvasalia. With his unique, streetwear touch, he brought Balenciaga a more youthful and urban appeal, sealing its reputation as one of the most successful brands in the industry today.
Refined avant-garde aesthetic
Throughout its history, the house of Balenciaga is known to be one of the most influential fashion house in Paris. The foundation laid by Cristobal is that of an artistic, avant-garde, yet completely refined aesthetic. His fellow couturier Christian Dior even referred to him as “the master of us all”. Balenciaga himself was a known mentor a number of fashion designers, the likes of Hubert de Givenchy and Oscar de la Renta. Similarly to the founder, Nicolas Ghesquiere’s tenure in the house was also very influential. What he did on one season was ultimately imitated by his contemporaries the next season. He applied the same avant-garde touch, this time with a more wearable approach since the brand became ready-to-wear during his years.
A label loved by many throughout decades
Balenciaga boasts an array of prominent women as their faithful clientele. From society matrons to Hollywood celebrities, to this day, women embrace the Balenciaga look. During the 1950’s, legendary socialites such as Mona von Bismarck, Babe Paley, and Gloria Guinness. Simultaneously, Hollywood icons such as Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor were frequently spotted in Balenciaga haute couture. Today, A-list stars still love the brand and wear it both on the street and on the red carpet. Ghesquiere even got actress Jennifer Connelly as his muse during his tenure. Other actresses who’ve worn the brand include Gwyneth Paltrow, Nicole Kidman, and Jennifer Garner.
From time to time, Balenciaga always innovate which makes them always on top of its competitors. They make sure that they cater to the changing tastes of their market. But keep in mind that Balenciaga is no follower; in fact, the brand sets the rules the international fashion scene. From its early beginning during the Golden Age of Haute Couture, to its influential avant-garde position today, Balenciaga has elevated its reputation throughout the years. With their perseverance to fully cultivate the sole identity of its design origins, they became one of the industry’s bests.
Balenciaga Boutique in Hong Kong International Airport.
If you will be asked to name a few of the most globally popular and the most sought after high end fashion labels, for sure you will never ever miss out Balenciaga. Balenciaga is one of those brands that everyone in the fashion industry respects. From the conceptualization to the actual execution, its creative team makes sure that everything goes perfect. Every Balenciaga piece is successfully marketed across countries. From competing brands to world-popular celebrities, everyone vie to have at least a single item from this top of the line label. Each and every produce of Balenciaga is avant-garde.
This is the brand that always listens to the changing trends of the industry without compromising its signature style. It holds the same reputation with Gucci, Chanel, Versace, Burberry, etc. In terms of styling, Balenciaga is a power house that made couture very extravagant and modish at the same time. Ever since its founding in the fashion scene, it captured the eyes and ears of all fashionistas across the globe. It has a very keen eye on details in creating its own pieces. From time to time, Balenciaga always innovate which makes them always on top of its competitors. They make sure that they cater to the changing tastes of their market. But keep in mind that Balenciaga is no follower; in fact Balenciaga set the rules the international fashion system.
The success of Balenciaga did not happen overnight. It took decades for this brand to attain its current reputation. With their perseverance to fully cultivate their brand and with the sole identity of its founder, they became one of the industry’s bests.
The Foundation of Balenciaga
Balenciaga exhibition at The Victoria & Albert Museum in South Kensington, London, UK. Photo: photocritical
For almost a hundred years ago, Balenciaga was born by the mighty Cristobal Balenciaga in Spain. Being a native Spanish, Cristobal Balenciaga always had the allure for glamorous fashionable shapes, colors and cuts. Ever since his younger years, his fondness on couture dresses, tops and bottoms has been very apparent. As you can observe with every Balenciaga produce, they always showcase bubble skirts, structured tops and other modern experimental pieces. These became the trademark of their fashion house. Feminine, vibrant, modern and superior quality became their mark in the industry from then on. The credibility of Cristobal Balenciaga is unquestionable. Even other brands of equal footing respect his proficiency not only in designing but also in sewing. He was even referred by Christian Dior as the “Master of us All”. He does not compromise his standards in bringing his creative ideas to life. With Cristobal Balenciaga and his fashion house, mediocrity is never tolerated.
In 1918, during the birth of Balenciaga in the industry, it became the most talked luxury fashion house. The positive feedback on their very dramatic shapes and sculptured cuts travelled beyond boundaries. His first boutique in San Sebastian Spain was immediately followed with branches in Barcelona, Madrid and Paris. Back then, Cristobal Balenciaga’s designs was worn by the most influential people in Spain. Even royal families and aristocrats personally adore his style. His designs were worn by the richest of the rich. His work is featured in all high fashion magazines. Runways were glamorously stomped by his models and everything was legendarily successful.
The Secret to Balenciaga’s Consistent Success
This label’s ultimate key to success is innovation. It is not always that the market is going to settle with what’s as in. Its founder is smart enough to adjust to the changing demand of its market. Innovation in style, in fabrics and in manufacturing technology is always done. Through time, this label’s designs became more appealing and contemporary. From wide sculpture to hourglass shapes, it became obvious that Balenciaga is diverging to a more modern take. His creations became sleeker and more linear embodying the true essence of a woman which is sexy but impactful. In his modern designs, he captured both the weakness and the strengths of a modern woman. He once stated that a new silhouette for women is considered to be his most important contribution to the world of fashion. This, by the way, is still very true.
Currently, this luxury brand is owned by Gucci Group N.V. Its creative director, Demna Gvasalia, continued the legacy of the fashion’s one true king, Cristobal Balenciaga. With the same perseverance but with different take on modern style, the brand remains to be one of the industry’s most reputable. Ready to wear clothing was introduced in the nineties manifesting the class and the appeal of the minimally classics. From high fashion couture, Balenciaga embraced the beauty of minimalism without eliminating the brand’s signature. Unconventional shapes and cuts are still very present in every Balenciaga item. Gvasalia incredibly achieved the balance between volume and proportion. Trend is set with their very modern experimentation of prints, shapes and fabrics. Right now, this is the fashion label that sets its own rules. Balenciaga is the brand that everyone looks up to.