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Balenciaga SCAD FASH

A Stunning Homage to Cristóbal Balenciaga in a Sartorial Symphony at SCAD FASH

Savannah College of Art and Design presents “Cristobal Balenciaga: Master of Tailoring” in Atlanta at SCAD FASH. The an in-depth look into the icon’s life and work is open now through June 2, 2024.

SCAD FASH’s Atlanta exhibition space is honoring Cristóbal Balenciaga, now through June 2. The collection on view features meticulously preserved garments, illustrations, and original atelier communications, presented in a thoughtful meditation on the Spanish designer’s incredible tenure. 

“Master of Tailoring” at SCAD FASH

Balenciaga SCAD FASH

Installation view of ”Cristóbal Balenciaga: Master of Tailoring” photography Courtesy of SCAD.

“Royalty comes to Atlanta as the ‘King of Fashion’ holds court at SCAD FASH, the crown jewel of couture higher education. Expertly curated exclusively for SCAD from the famed personal collection of Azzedine Alaïa, Cristóbal Balenciaga: Master of Tailoring showcases one of the most innovative, imaginative, and impeccable design minds of the 20th century. From daywear to eveningwear, Balenciaga’s broad shoulders, dropped waistline, and impeccable fabrics will forever define elegance. As his beloved contemporary Christian Dior mused, ‘Haute couture is like an orchestra, whose conductor is Balenciaga.’ Experience this majestic sartorial symphony — only at SCAD FASH,” said Paula Wallace, SCAD President and Founder

The son of a seamstress, Balenciaga was himself a master tailor by his teen years. He quickly earned notoriety designing for the Spanish royal family before founding his namesake Parisian atelier in 1937. “Cristobal Balenciaga: Master of Tailoring” highlights the designer’s humble roots as well as his glamorous heyday, designing for high society, royalty, and starlets like Elizabeth Taylor and Dolores del Río. At the heart of SCAD’s exhibition lies Balenciaga’s experimentation with form and his mastery of construction, exemplified by iconic silhouettes such as the sack dress, baby doll dress, and square coat.

Cristóbal Balenciaga’s Unmatched Genius

Balenciaga SCAD FASH

Cristobal Balenciaga, (1895-1972), couturier espagnol. Paris, 1927.

“It is an honor to bring the work of Cristóbal Balenciaga — one of the greatest couturiers who has held supreme influence over generations of designers — to SCAD FASH. This exhibition presents Balenciaga’s unmatched artistic mastery and is an exclusive opportunity for our students and museum guests to marvel at his genius and his everlasting mark on fashion history,” said Rafael Gomes, Creative director of SCAD FASH museums.

The collection was curated by Gaël Mamine for SCAD FASH, who envisions the project as “a way to show to the public the timeless vision of the couturier admired by all, from Christian Dior to Coco Chanel.” The collection features immaculately preserved garments from Balenciaga’s personal archive, courtesy of Azzedine Alaïa. Some of the archival pulls from the late 1940s to 1968 had to undergo meticulous refitting to the mannequin’s specifications, as a few of the pieces were still tailored to size for Balenciaga’s clientele. 

“It is a real honor to work with SCAD on this new exhibition dedicated to Balenciaga through the private collection of Azzedine Alaïa, developed since 1968. Azzedine felt it was his duty and had the vision to preserve Balenciaga’s couture savoir faire when he was personally called upon by Mademoiselle Renée, director of the house, to collect select fabrics and garments as the house was closed per Mr. Balenciaga’s wishes. This special Balenciaga exhibition is a way to show to the public the timeless vision of the couturier admired by all, from Christian Dior to Coco Chanel,” said Gaël Mamine, Head of collections at Fondation Azzedine Alaïa.

Ephemera from the Atelier of Cristóbal Balenciaga

Balenciaga SCAD FASH

Installation view of ”Cristóbal Balenciaga: Master of Tailoring” photography Courtesy of SCAD.

Illustrations and photographs selected by the head of Balenciaga Heritage, Gaspard de Massé, are also on view, as well as one-of-a-kind sketches and original atelier correspondence, courtesy of Gonzalo Parodi of Parodi Costume Collection. 

“Guests to the museum will discover Balenciaga’s astonishing expertise, as the works on view convey both the story of the excellence of the House of Balenciaga, a precise era in haute couture at the beginning of the 20th century, and the couturier’s perfected juxtaposition of modernity and timelessness,” said Gaspard de Massé, Head of Balenciaga Heritage.

The overall effect allows the visitor to step into the storied atelier, the serene and elegant design of the exhibition space echoing the feeling of being one of Balenciaga’s early clients. The show invites students and guests to marvel at the icon’s unmatched career and his undoubtable mark on fashion history.

Who was Cristóbal Balenciaga?

Balenciaga SCAD FASH

Installation view of ”Cristóbal Balenciaga: Master of Tailoring” photography Courtesy of SCAD.

Born the son of a seamstress and fisherman on Spain’s Basque coast, Cristóbal Balenciaga was immersed in fashion from an early age. Observing his mother create pieces for the Spanish aristocracy, who vacationed in his hometown of Getaria, Balenciaga cultivated his own natural artisanal sensibilities as he watched his mother work. Taken under the patronage of his mother’s client, the Marquesa de Casa Torres, Balenciaga began formal training as a tailor at the tender age of 12. Emboldened by this expertise in tailoring, he began his professional career with a solid foundation that evolved from his beginnings in Spain to his final headquarters at 10 Avenue George V in Paris. 

Equipped with confidence in his talent, a love of the past, and pride in his Spanish heritage, Balenciaga sculpted a second skin for his clients, who watched with rapt attention as his innovative designs paraded through the salon during his twice-yearly collection debuts. From Balenciaga’s needle and thread, iconic silhouettes like the sack dress, baby doll dress, square jacket, egg-shaped coat, and high-low hemline bloomed to life. He was considered a genius of his craft and admired by designers of his time, including Hubert de Givenchy, Coco Chanel, and Pierre Balmain. — Source

What is SCAD FASH?

Balenciaga SCAD FASH

Installation view of ”Cristóbal Balenciaga: Master of Tailoring” photography Courtesy of SCAD, Curators: Raf Gomes, Gaspard de Masse, Gael Mamine.

SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film celebrates fashion as a universal language, garments as important conduits of identity, and film as an immersive and memorable medium. Situated within SCAD Atlanta, the museum presents dynamic exhibitions, captivating films, and enticing events that mine the rich and storied legacies of fashion history to inspire contemporary designers and future innovations. Supported by the university’s strong global presence and connections to renowned contemporary fashion designers, filmmakers, and creative professionals around the world, SCAD FASH is an integral part of the SCAD educational experience.

Like the award-winning SCAD Museum of Art, SCAD FASH serves as a creative resource for students of all ages and a wellspring of inspiration for visitors. Through programming that engages the university’s broad array of academic disciplines, SCAD FASH offers diverse exhibitions, films, installations, performances, and events to enliven and inspire the greater community year-round. Each program is designed to engage and appeal to visitors with varied backgrounds and interests, from textiles and jewelry to photography and film. Past exhibitions have featured the work of designers Christian Siriano, Robert Wun, Ruth E. Carter, Azzedine Alaïa, Pierre Cardin, Carolina Herrera, Mary Katrantzou, Guo Pei, and Oscar de la Renta. Photographic exhibitions have featured the work of Robert Fairer, Albert Watson, Jonathan Becker, Bill Cunningham, and Omar Victor Diop. Exhibitions are accompanied by curated film series that complement programming. Past SCAD commissioned films include Pierre Cardin: Le Futur, The First Monday in May, Funny Face, The Leopard, and Ovation for Oscar, among others. Visit scadfash.org. — Source

Balenciaga SCAD FASH

Installation view of ”Cristóbal Balenciaga: Master of Tailoring” photography Courtesy of SCAD.

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