Cristobal Balenciaga was a leading French fashion designer of Spanish origin in the 1920’s- 1930’s. He became famous for his classic, yet daring for the time designs.
Balenciaga was born in 1895 in Guetaria- a fishing village on the Basque coast. As many other he showed his interest in fashion from an early age. His first breakthrough was when he was introduced to a local Marquise of casa Torres. He complimented her elegance upon being introduced, which deeply flattered the woman. After spending some time with young Cristobal and realizing his potential she gave him a task that he completed astonishingly well for his age. He made a copy of the haute couture the marquise was wearing.
The next year he was presented the opportunity to travel to France. He settled in Paris and soon became obsessed with the top local designers. After 3 years of gathering knowledge he returned home and opened a couture workshop in San Sebastian. He slowly began introducing the French style to Spanish women and began building a name for himself.
His fashion house-Balenciaga, opened in 1915, also in San Sebastian. A second fashion house followed in 1920 and soon after the opening Cristobal fled Spain, to seek refuge from the Civil war in his homelands in France.
During the next 30 years Balenciaga never failed to stay on top withhis ever-elegant designs. In his opinion: “a couturier must be an architect for design, a sculptor for shape, a painter for color, a musician for harmony, and a philosopher for temperance”. This was the philosophy of the famous couturier.
In 1947 Balenciaga created his 1st perfume.
Some of the most famous fans of the Balenciaga couture were: the Queen of Belgium, the Queen of Spain, the princess of Monaco and the Duchess of Windsor. All these women were worldwide recognized as best-dressed.
Before passing away on the 24th of March 1972, Cristobal had already retired and hidden himself from the public. His last appearance in Paris was for the funeral of Coco Chanel, who has said that Balenciaga is the only designer capable of fully creating a dress all b y himself.