Designer 101: Balenciaga

The one’s that look like Socks

I have great appreciation for Balenciaga‘s willingness to push boundaries in design.  Even their ready-to-wear has elements of couture and futuristic inspiration.  That kind of innovation has staying power in the fashion world.  Today, over 100 years after their founding in 1917 in Spain, Balenciaga is still one of the hottest and most influential luxury fashion brands.  You can thank Cristóbal Balenciaga for babydoll dresses, bubble skirts and knee high boots (& I do).  The entire footwear sections of department stores are currently filled with sock shoes/boots and chunky running shoes… but we all know who’s original design that is.

The designer was forced to move to Paris when the house was closed by the Spanish Civil War.  It’s been said that people were risking their lives, travelling the world during World War II just to see his designs!  His manipulation of the waist is considered to be his most important contribution to the world of fashion – creating a new silhouette for women, with the tunic and chemise dress in the late 1950’s in the wake of the sexual revolution.  It’s so wonderful the way fashion weaves it’s way through history, paralleling revolutions, historic eras and pinnacles.  Though often considered an extravagance, or tool for vanity, we all live our lives in it.  Even if you specifically choose to blend through fashion, or remain under the radar through your choice of clothing – you are still using clothing to your advantage, to express to the world who you are.  I believe the public generally dismisses the power clothing, style and fashion have.  To me though, it’s the most beautiful medium and form artistic expression because every single person has the ability to use it and do so daily.  It is a part of who each and every one of us is.

Balenciaga retired in 1968 and the avant garde fashion house remained closed until 1986 when Michel Goma brought the brand back to life.  Josephus Thimister was the creative director from 1992 until 1997 when Nicolas Ghesquière came in to direct.  The tailored, futuristic & sci-fi influence can be seen strongly in his collections.  When Alexander Wang took over (his first show being Autumn 2013) the collections became more monochrome with a different structural aesthetic and more feminine silhouette.  Currently directing the house is Demna Gvasali, since 2015.  As always Balenciaga is the brand setting, not following trends.

As with every designer in this series I’ve included my favourite looks from each collection (available to me).  I still to this day love those harness boots – made famous by Mary-Kate Olsen, what is your favourite Balenciaga collection?

Spring 1998 Ready-to-Wear

Balenciaga 1998 Spring RTW
Balenciaga 1998 Spring RTW
Balenciaga 1998 Spring RTW
Balenciaga 1998 Spring RTW
Balenciaga 1998 Spring RTW

Spring 2000 Ready-to-Wear

Balenciaga 2000 Spring RTW

Spring 2001 Ready-to-Wear

Balenciaga 2001 Spring RTW

Fall 2001 Ready-to-Wear

Balenciaga 2001 Fall RTW
Balenciaga 2001 Fall RTW
Balenciaga 2001 Fall RTW
Balenciaga 2001 Fall RTW
Balenciaga 2001 Fall RTW
Balenciaga 2001 Fall RTW

Spring 2002 Ready-to-Wear

Balenciaga 2002 Spring RTW
Balenciaga 2002 Spring RTW
Balenciaga 2002 Spring RTW

Spring 2003 Ready-to-Wear

Balenciaga 2003 Spring RTW
Balenciaga 2003 Spring RTW

Fall 2004 Ready-to-Wear

Balenciaga 2004 Fall RTW

Spring 2005 Ready-to-Wear

Balenciaga 2005 Spring RTW
Balenciaga 2005 Spring RTW

Fall 2005 Ready-to-Wear

Balenciaga 2005 Fall RTW

Spring 2006 Ready-to-Wear

Balenciaga 2006 Spring RTW
Balenciaga 2006 Spring RTW
Balenciaga 2006 Spring RTW
Balenciaga 2006 Spring RTW
Balenciaga 2006 Spring RTW
Balenciaga 2006 Spring RTW
Balenciaga 2006 Spring RTW
Balenciaga 2006 Spring RTW
Balenciaga 2006 Spring RTW

Fall 2006 Ready-to-Wear

Balenciaga 2006 Fall RTW
Balenciaga 2006 Fall RTW
Balenciaga 2006 Fall RTW
Balenciaga 2006 Fall RTW
Balenciaga 2006 Fall RTW
Balenciaga 2006 Fall RTW
Balenciaga 2006 Fall RTW

Fall 2007 Ready-to-Wear

Balenciaga 2007 Fall RTW
Balenciaga 2007 Fall RTW

Resort 2008

Balenciaga 2008 Resort

Spring 2008 Ready-to-Wear

Balenciaga 2008 Spring RTW

Pre-Fall 2008

Balenciaga 2008 Pre-Fall
Balenciaga 2008 Pre-Fall

Resort 2009

Balenciaga 2009 Resort
Balenciaga 2009 Resort
Balenciaga 2009 Resort

Spring 2009 Ready-to-Wear

Balenciaga 2009 Spring RTW

Pre-Fall 2009

Balenciaga 2009 Pre-Fall
Balenciaga 2009 Pre-Fall
Balenciaga 2009 Pre-Fall

Fall 2009 Ready-to-Wear

Balenciaga 2009 Fall RTW

Resort 2010

Balenciaga 2010 Resort
Balenciaga 2010 Resort
Balenciaga 2010 Resort
Balenciaga 2010 Resort

Fall 2010 Ready-to-Wear

Balenciaga 2010 Fall RTW
Balenciaga 2010 Fall RTW

Resort 2011

Balenciaga 2011 Resort

Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear

Balenciaga 2012 Spring RTW

Resort 2013

Balenciaga 2013 Resort
Balenciaga 2013 Resort
Balenciaga 2013 Resort

Pre-Fall 2013

Balenciaga 2013 Pre-Fall
Balenciaga 2013 Pre-Fall
Balenciaga 2013 Pre-Fall

Fall 2013 Ready-to-Wear

Balenciaga 2013 Fall RTW
Balenciaga 2013 Fall RTW
Balenciaga 2013 Fall RTW
Balenciaga 2013 Fall RTW

Resort 2014

Balenciaga 2014 Resort
Balenciaga 2014 Resort
Balenciaga 2014 Resort
Balenciaga 2014 Resort
Balenciaga 2014 Resort

Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear

Balenciaga 2014 Spring RTW
Balenciaga 2014 Spring RTW
Balenciaga 2014 Spring RTW
Balenciaga 2014 Spring RTW

Spring 2015 Ready-to-Wear

Balenciaga 2015 Spring RTW
Balenciaga 2015 Spring RTW
Balenciaga 2015 Spring RTW


Pre-Fall 2015

Balenciaga 2015 Pre-Fall
Balenciaga 2015 Pre-Fall
Balenciaga 2015 Pre-Fall
Balenciaga 2015 Pre-Fall
Balenciaga 2015 Pre-Fall
Balenciaga 2015 Pre-Fall

Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear

Balenciaga 2015 Fall RTW
Balenciaga 2015 Fall RTW
Balenciaga 2015 Fall RTW

Fall 2016 Ready-to-Wear

Balenciaga 2016 Fall RTW
Balenciaga 2016 Fall RTW
Balenciaga 2016 Fall RTW
Balenciaga 2016 Fall RTW

Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear

Balenciaga 2017 Spring RTW
Balenciaga 2017 Spring RTW

Resort 2017

Balenciaga 2017 Resort

Fall 2017 Ready-to-Wear

Balenciaga 2017 Fall RTW
Balenciaga 2017 Fall RTW
Balenciaga 2017 Fall RTW
Balenciaga 2017 Fall RTW
Balenciaga 2017 Fall RTW
Balenciaga 2017 Fall RTW
Balenciaga 2017 Fall RTW

Spring 2018 Ready-to-Wear

Balenciaga 2018 Spring RTW
Balenciaga 2018 Spring RTW
Balenciaga 2018 Spring RTW

Resort 2018

Balenciaga 2018 Fall RTW

Fall 2018 Ready-to-Wear

Balenciaga 2018 Fall RTW
Balenciaga 2018 Fall RTW
Balenciaga 2018 Fall RTW

Pre-Fall 2018

Balenciaga Pre-Fall 2018
Balenciaga Pre-Fall 2018

photos courtesy of Vogue.com

xx Sheila

Share: