2019 #BasqueCountry | Cristobal Balenciaga museum, Getaria
Updated: Jan 8
Even though you're not a fashion junkie and have no idea about all that styling-fashioning-stuff, I'm sure you've at least heard the iconic name in the world of fashion, Cristobal Balenciaga the genius, the artist, the king of fashion.
Cristobal Balenciaga museum is built in Getaria in 2011, it is located just in the center of the village, once you're here don't miss visiting this place, as you would never see same collections at any other place in the world, even in some big famous museums of Paris or Madrid. First question maybe "Why here?" The answer is simple, #Balenciaga was Basque and was born in Getaria village.
The museum's itself is as classy as Balenciaga and his gorgeous designs.
It made of two parts, a super modern black building made of concrete and glass...
...and old classic colourful villa.
The museum is located on the top hill, so incredible views to the whole Getaria village and Atlantic ocean are opening from there.
Both buildings are connected each other wall by wall, looks quite symbolic showing modern and classic styles' kind of union.
The environment inside is bright, elegant and calm, so you would probably want to stay there as longer as possible, to enjoy the atmosphere. Maybe because I'm the real fan of Balenciaga, with my fashion stylist education and background, but I believe this place would make same impression to other people, who are not that much involved in this fashioning topic.
A bit of history for those, who never heard about #Balenciaga more than just his name. Balenciaga was born in Getaria on 21st January in 1895, his father was a fisherman who died when he was a kid, those times Balenciaga often spent time with his mother. He started to work as the apprentice of a tailor when he was 12 y.o. When he was a teenager, the Marchionesse de Casa Torres, the foremost noblewoman in his town, became his customer and patron. She sent him to Madrid for training in tailoring. Balenciaga is notable as one of the few couturiers in fashion history who could not only use his own hands to create, but pattern, cut, and sew the designs which symbolized the height of his artistry.
Balenciaga was successful as a designer in Spain during his early career. He opened a boutique in San Sebastian (just about 30 km from Getaria) in 1919, where all Spanish nobelmen and aristocracy spend their summer vacations (actually they always had "vacations", as they never worked like we do now), as long as in the neighbourhood of Biarritz, the French part of Basque Country, where in the same time French noblemen's crowd always had their parties.
Then he expanded his branches to Madrid and Barcelona. Whole Spanish royal family and the aristocracy wore his designs, but when the Spanish Civil War forced him to close his stores, Balenciaga moved to Paris and opened his Paris couture house on Avenue George V in August 1937, where he became the "King of Fashion".
He was the most eye-catching #designer of this period because of his structural designs, which had never before been seen in the fashion world. He was able to translate his illustrations from paper to real life, he was a master of tailoring. His advanced tailoring skills gave him an advantage over designers all over the world, making him a major maestro for his customers. He totally transformed the silhouette in 1951, broadening the shoulders and removing the waist, then he designed the tunic dress in 1955, which later developed into the chemise dress. His work culminated in the Empire line, with high-waisted dresses and coats cut like kimonos in 1959.
There are three floors of Balenciaga's gorgeous works in Getaria's museum. The exhibitions are always changing the pieces, so in the different times different designs are shown, more information about current actual exhibitions you can find on the official museum website. Frankly I adored all I've seen, but it's impossible to post it all here, therefore below you'll find just some examples of his genious creations, my top favorites among those exhibited in April 2019. I just marked the years of creating, to let you understand how far "in future" Balenciaga was in those times already, I bet you would say "Oh, I would love to wear this now in 21st century".
He inspired other designers including Oscar de la Renta, Emanuel Ungaro, Hubert de Givenchy. His sculptural creations were considered masterpieces of haute couture in the 1950s and 1960s.
This one is absolutely my personal love.
Balenciaga closed his house in 1968 at the age of 74 after working in Paris for 30 years. He decided to retire and closed his fashion houses in Paris, Barcelona and Madrid, one after the other. He died on 23rd March 1972 in Xabia, Spain. Today the Balenciaga fashion house continues under the direction of Demna Gvasalia.