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Cristóbal Balenciaga

His museum in his hometown of Guetaría: “A couturier must be an architect of form, a painter for colour, a musician for harmony and a philosopher for measurement”.



Many couturiers were trained in the Balenciaga workshop: Paco Rabanne, André Courréges, Emanuel Ungaro, Hubert de Givenchy or Oscar de la Renta.


Cristóbal Balenciaga Eizaguirre was born in Guetaría in 1895 into a working family; his father was a fisherman and his mother a seamstress who worked for the Marquises of Casa-Torres family.  From a young age, he was in contact with his mother’s profession and the elegance and good taste of the Marquise.  She would become one of her first customers. 


In 1907 he began to learn the profession of tailor by working for establishments with connections to Parisian fashion.  In 1937 he moved to Paris where he established himself as one of the most influential designers in history, with knowledge of fabric suppliers specializing in Haute Couture, a cosmopolitan clientele of great social importance and recognized by the international media. 


Success will accompany him from the presentation of his first collection in 1937.   Creations based on comfort, purity of lines, interpretation of the Spanish tradition and the development of innovative volumes; will mark the fashion of the central decades of the 20th century, until 1968, when he decides to retire.    


Christian Dior commented on Balenciaga; “The Master of All”, Hubert de Givenchy referred to him; “The Architect of Haute Couture” or Coco Chanel described him; “The only authentic Couturier”.  His innovative capacity, knowledge of fabrics, vision and interpretation of the female body make him one of the best designers in history. 


His contribution to the world of fashion: the “tonneau” line, 1947, the half-fitted figure from 1951, the balloon skirts from 1953, the tunic; 1955, the sack dress from 1957, or the baby-doll dress, 1958.  Moving towards a minimalism that characterized his creations of the following decade.