The spanish designer Crist?bal Balenciaga was referred to as “the master of us all” said famed designer Christian Dior. Crist?bal in 1914 opened his first boutique is Spain and eventually Barcelona and Madrid. The royal family of Spain and the aristocrats were famed for wearing his designs, but he was forced to move to Paris when the Spanish Civil War broke out and he was forced to close stores.
In 1937 Crist?bal opened his couture house in Paris, his very first runway show was heavily influened by the Spanish Renaissance. Balenciaga was a huge success is Paris and within a couple of years the press there called him a revolutionary. His designs became very desirable and the editor of Harper’s Bazzar was a huge fan at the time.
During WWII a lot of people who wanted to see his famed designs, traveled to europe. He was at this time praised for his “square coat,” it had black or brown lace over bright colored fabrics. Throughout the 50’s and 60’s he was noted for his use of fabrics and intricate embroidery. Jackie Kennedy loved to purchase Balenciaga’s designs when she was the firat lady, but the President was afraid that the Amercian public would look at this as too lavish. Her haute couture expenses were eventually quietly paid by her father-in-law, Joseph Kennedy. Balenciaga left the company in 1968.
Today Balenciaga is owned by the Gucci Group, and the head designer is Nicolas Ghesqui?re. The group has recently put pressure of Nicolas and said that in 2007 the company needs to be profitable or they will replace him. The house is now a celebrity favorite to wear his designs such as Jennifer Connelly and Nicole Kidman. The brand today is also famous for its motorcycle-inspired handbags.