Posted on September 22 2021
Balenciaga is one of the most popular fashion houses of the 21st century - but how much do you know about it? When was Balenciaga founded? Why? What is Balenciaga famous for?
Read on to learn all about the history of Balenciaga, from the origin of the luxury fashion label to the most modern designs.
The Origin Of Balenciaga
Balenciaga was founded back in 1917 by Spanish designer Cristóbal Balenciaga.
The luxury fashion house is known for its exquisite attention to detail and creative designs. The brand is at the heart of the Haute Couture scene, creating high-end designs fit for royalty.
Cristóbal started in a small fishing town in Guetaria and ended as one of the most established fashion designers in history. Cristóbal Balenciaga took an interest in fashion from an early age and helped his mother with her seamstress work.
He later kept his mother’s sewing machine and placed it on display on his mantlepiece. At just twelve years old, he began an apprenticeship with a tailor, which furthered his interest in fashion and design.
He went on to meet the most elegant socialite in the area, Marquesa de Casa Torres, who became the face of many of his early designs.
Crossing paths with socialites on a regular basis gave Balenciaga a taste for sophistication and shaped the direction in which he would take his brand.
He had a competitive edge against other designers, as he was able to cut, sew, and pattern his own designs, whereas others would simply design them.
The combination of his physical abilities, his creative streak, and his expert eye led to him crossing paths with the Spanish royals. The aristocracy began wearing Balenciaga’s designs, which helped to boost his reputation.
During the Spanish Civil War, Cristóbal Balenciaga moved to Paris as a result of his stores in Barcelona and Madrid having to close.
In 1937, opened his couture house in an affluent area of the city. He quickly became known as the ‘King of Fashion’, with Christian Dior calling him ‘Master of us all’. Pierre Balmain, Coco Chanel, and other luxury designers counted Balenciaga as one of the leading designers in high-end fashion.
In the 1950s, Balenciaga’s innovative designs changed the fashion scene as well as the feminine silhouette.
Women no longer had to wear uncomfortable clothes with tight waistlines, as Balenciaga gave them another option. He popularised flowing clothing and loose-fitting dresses, making life (and fashion) easier for women all around.
After an extremely successful career, Cristóbal Balenciaga closed his Parisian couture house in 1968 and decided to retire. In 1972, he died at the age of 77. His couture house was left for 14 years before it was brought back to life by Jacques Bogart, who brought the rights.
After Cristóbal Balenciaga’s death in 1972, designer Jacques Bogart brought the rights to the house 14 years later and created a new ready-to-wear line.
In 1997, Nicolas Ghesquière became the Creative Director of the House, and then in 2001, luxury goods company Kering acquired the fashion house.
Georgian designer Demna Gvasalia became the artistic director of the collections back in 2015. He believes in deconstruction for construction - taking something apart in order to create something else (aka destruct to create).
His work is largely influenced by sportswear aesthetics, and just like Cristóbal Balenciaga once did, Gvasalia focused on comfort and practicality while maintaining a sense of luxury.
A new store was opened in Paris, Avenue Montaigne in 2017, which made the designs more accessible. In 2021, Balenciaga is still a luxury house - the quality, attention to detail, and price tag clearly reflects this. The cost of Balenciaga designs can vary, with socks costing from £85, but coats and jackets costing around £5,000.
One of the things that Balenciaga is most known for in 2021 is their range of quality, luxury sneakers/ trainers.
Most notably, Balenciaga released the Speed Sock back in 2016, which was worn by celebrities and influencers all over the globe. Kylie Jenner, Hailey Baldwin, Future, Gucci Mane, and Ashlee Simpson were all photographed wearing the iconic Speed Sock.
The sneakers are comfortable, fashionable, and have an athletic aesthetic. The sock-like construction combined with the oversized articulated sole creates a modern solution to the standard trainer.
They can set you back around £600, which is one of Balenciaga’s more affordable footwear options.
Another popular trainer design by Balenciaga is the Balenciaga Track. They’re both stylish and comfortable and fit into the retro revival.
The chunky soles and panelled design combine to create a durable, comfortable, and fashionable shoe, perfect for running, walking through the park, or simply walking around with friends.
It’s typical of Balenciaga to use a variety of materials in their designs - and the Track is no exception. The sole is layered with thick, foam cushioning for comfort, and the outsole features sport-looking reinforced rubber for durability.
Oversized trainers have made a huge revival, and have been dominating the footwear scene for a few years now.
The Balenciaga Triple S trainers are the epitome of chunky, retro, oversized trainers. They are sporty yet stylish and have great attention to detail - as you’d expect from any Balenciaga design.
A premium price tag is also something you’d expect from any Balenciaga design - and the Triple S trainers are no exception. However, they aren’t Balenciaga’s most expensive trainers, with some costing over £1,000.
The chunky and oversized sole adds to the overall weight of the shoe, so they can feel quite heavy - as though you’re wearing boots.
What Is Balenciaga Known For?
Balenciaga is known for excellent attention to detail, luxury designs, and of course, the premium price tag.
One of the most notable things that Balenciaga did was revolutionised women’s fashion, creating feminine silhouettes that nobody had ever seen before.
From the ballroom hems of the early ‘50s, the flowing clothing of the mid-’50s, and the invention of the sack dress in the late ‘50s, Balenciaga changed the way women dressed.
More recently, many people picked up on their political logo detailing fond on many Kids Cavern stock designs such as the unisex hoodie.