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The couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga was born in 1895 in a small Basque fishing village. From the earliest age, he was intrigued by the attitudes of elegance embodied in the aristocratic women of the time. The house of Balenciaga was founded in San Sebastian in 1917; in 1937, against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War, Balenciaga moved to Paris. 

Uncompromising. Innovative. Audacious. Balenciaga invented the style of the twentieth century, with his semi-fitted suits, his cocooning coats and his easy chemise dresses. Balenciaga’s clothes were supple, light, supremely modern. They still feel contemporary today. Balenciaga was fashion’s Picasso, said Cecil Beaton. 

For over thirty years, until his retirement in 1968, the salons of Balenciaga at 10 Avenue George V were considered as sacred as chapels. They were the site of fashion’s great revolutions, and dressed the most distinguished and discerning women in the world. 

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