Balenciaga

Marie Andree Jouve, Author, Jacqueline Demornex, With Rizzoli International Publications $110 (345p) ISBN 978-0-8478-1079-6
Basque-born Cristobal Balenciaga, one of the leading couturiers of this century, found his metier in dress design early, spurred by his mother's work as a dressmaking teacher. Encouraged further by a noblewoman's interest in his talents, Balenciaga, aged 24, opened his first couture house in 1919. Journalist Demornex and Balenciaga archivist Jouve trace the development of his long career, which endured until the master's retirement in 1971, a year before his death. Balenciaga's famous draping technique, inspired by the paintings of Zurbaran, led to the creation of fantastic silhouettes (Colette, Marlene Dietrich and the Duchess of Windsor were among his clients), exemplified in evening dresses with enormous, jutting shoulders or full skirts bunched at calf level. Another trademark was lavishly ornamented fabric, such as a black muslin crisscrossed with ruched black lace. An informative text and 600 illustrations--200 in color, 190 in duotone--remind us of Balenciaga's brilliance and its sources in life and art. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 07/06/1989
Release date: 07/01/1989
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