Last November when I was in New York, I learned of a Balenciaga exhibit that was opening at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute. Being a major fan of Balenciaga, I was undeniably excited to attend. Then I realized that it was opening the day after I was leaving New York. Disappointed, I consoled myself with the news that the exhibit would then travel to San Francisco in March of 2011. And who doesn’t love an excuse to go to San Francisco? So that was my plan.
However, when I was in New York for Fashion week in February, I realized that I could catch the last day of the exhibit in New York. Sure I could wait until March, but I could see it in New York and also go to San Francisco for a revisit. Especially since it was promised that the exhibit would be greatly expanded when it hit the West Coast!
Curated by Vogue’s Hamish Bowles, Balenciaga and Spain is a study of the master couturier and the influence his native Spain had on his work. Balenciaga’s genius is demonstrated in the exhibit, showing how he drew inspiration from Spanish peasant outfits, matador uniforms, Goya paintings and even the vestments of the Catholic Church in Spain. Although he lived and worked in Paris, it is obvious that his homeland was deeply rooted in his soul and remained the greatest inspiration throughout his career.
Also of note as part of the exhibit, archival films of Balenciaga’s salon presentations in the 1960’s are shown, giving a rare glimpse into the designer’s collections from an era that is long gone.
Whether you are a slave to Couture as I am or just a Fashionista that can’t get enough of beautiful fashion, this exhibit is a must go to. Luckily for the West Coast peeps, Balenciaga and Spain will be at the DeYoung Fine Arts Museum in San Francisco from March 26 - July 4, 2011. And yes, I will make the trip to SF to see it again! :)
Photos by Ritika Wahal and Mariana Leung