Sometimes, we’re inspired by great fashion. The intimate show — the work of the original Cristobal Balenciaga –now on display at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute — pulls us in to remember clothing constructed with great artistry.
To celebrate the Spanish couturier’s birthday — January 21, 1895– the Spanish Institute threw a little fete, replete with champagne, uptown dames, and a red velvet cake.
Here, we’ve captured some out takes from the exhibit, the career of a man who opened his couture house in Paris in 1937, only to take over the couture world. The Times said, thirty years later, ” No one in French couture can match him.” And famed Vogue editor Diana Vreeland saluted how he transferred his roots into ball gowns, intricately detailed hats, and even hot pants. “Balenciaga remained forever a Spaniard… his inspiration came from the bullrings, the flamenco dancers, the fishermen in their boots and loose blouse, the glories of the Church and the cool of the cloisters and monasteries. He too their colors, their cuts, then festooned them to his own taste.
Of course, such inbred tradition did not stop him from showing tiny shorts in his collection on the eve of the Paris riots in 1968! We might even say that Hudson’s short shorts for Spring could be a nod to that. Ole’!
(Balenciaga, Spanish Master, until February 19, 2011, Queen Sofia Spanish Institute, 684 Park Avenue, at 68th Street.)