Balenciaga is a luxury fashion brand founded by Spanish designer Cristóbal Balenciaga in 1919. The brand has its foundation in San Sebastian, Spain, but the French group, Kering, later bought it. The central part of Balenciaga’s success has always been its history and tradition. The company’s headquarters can be found in Paris, France.
About The Founder
Cristóbal Balenciaga was a Spanish Fashion Designer and the founder of the Balenciaga fashion house. He was born on 21 January 1895 in Getaria, Gipuzkoa, Spain. His father passed away when he was very young, and his mother worked as a seamstress. Young Cristóbal used to watch his mother work all day.
At the age of 12, Cristóbal started working under a tailor. When he was a teenager, his mother sent him to Madrid to get formal training as a tailor.
In 1919, Cristóbal Balenciaga opened a boutique in San Sebastian. It became so successful that he opened branches in Madrid and Barcelona. Even the royal family of Spain and the aristocracy wore his designs.
Unfortunately, Cristóbal had to close his stores because of the Spanish civil war. He moved to France and opened his Paris couture house in 1937.
After 30 years of running the most significant fashion house, Cristóbal decided to close it. He shut down his stores in Madrid, Barcelona, and Paris and decided to retire from the fashion world. On 23 March 1972, Cristóbal Balenciaga passed away due to a heart attack, and he was 77 at the time.
In the 1960s, Cristóbal innovated the fashion of that time, he experimented with his designs and clothes, and people loved them. He used bold materials, heavy fabrics, and highly intricated techniques. His signature styles included keeping the collar away from the collarbone to give a swanlike look and using bracelet sleeves.
Cristóbal started a new design that consisted of high-waisted dresses and coats cut like kimonos. Another of his remarkable creations include the wedding dress of Queen Fabiola of Belgium; the dress was made with ivory duchess satin with white mink at the collar and hips.
Reopening of Balenciaga
In 1986, Jacques Bogart S.A. acquired the rights of Balenciaga and launched a new ready-to-wear line called Le Dix. The designer of the collection was Michel Goma. In 1992, Josephus Thimister, a dutch designer, replaced Michal Goma. Thimister became the brand’s way to high-fashion status in the industry.
In 1992, they designed the French team’s clothes for the Olympics games in Barcelona, Spain. Nicolas Ghesquiere became the head fashion designer and then became the creative director.
The Cristóbal Balenciaga Museum opened in Getaria, Gipuzkoa, Spain in June 2011.
In November 2012, the company announced that they were parting ways with its creative director Nicolas Ghesquiere, who worked for the brand for 15 years. Alexander Wang became the new creative director. After three years of tenure, Alexander Wang also parted ways with Balenciaga. In October 2015, Demna Gvasalia became the new creative director.
Balenciaga is one of the most successful and well-known brands around the world. It paved the foundation for many fashion houses of the future.
In March 2022, the brand supported Ukraine during the Paris Fashion Week. Ukraine is badly affected due to the Russian invasion in the Ukraine-Russian war.
Every event chair had a yellow and blue T-shirt, the colors of the Ukrainian flag. Creative director Demna Gvasalia recited a poem by a Ukrainian writer, Oleksandr Oles, called Live Ukraine, Live Beauty at the beginning and the end of the show.
The brand made constant donations to the UN World Food Programme to help the Ukrainian refugees.
Did Cristóbal Balenciaga ever married?
No, he never married and kept his personal life private.
How old is Balenciaga?
Balenciaga is now about 103 years old.