November 17, 2017

Balenciaga: Spanish Fashion Icon

In the fashion world, French names dominate: Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Louboutin. But one of the world’s most celebrated fashion designers, Balenciaga, wasn’t French at all–he was Basque, reigning from a small fishing village in the province of Guipuzkoa.

Cristobal Balenciaga

Beginnings of a Fashion Icon

Balenciaga was practically born with a needle and thread in hand: he grew up with a seamstress as a mother, and at the age of 12 took on an apprenticeship as a tailor. As a teenager, Balenciaga already had high-profile patrons: the Marchioness de Casa Torres, a noblewoman who saw talent in the young man and urged him to go to Madrid for formal training.

Upon returning from Madrid, Balenciaga opened his first boutique in the elegant seaside city of San Sebastián, later expanding back to the Spanish capital and Barcelona. His prestige only furthered as the royal family donned his artful garments. However, as the Spanish Civil War erupted in Spain, he was forced to close his stores and moved to Paris, where he opened his haute couture house, which still operates from the same Parisian address to this day.

“Haute couture is like an orchestra, whose conductor is Balenciaga.” -Christian Dior

Balenciaga was, and still to this day is revered by the fashion industry (his protege was Oscar de la Renta!) who describe him as “the Master” and the “courtiers of courtiers.”  He’s credited with redefining the female silhouette, and being the only fashion designer who possesed such refined skill, that he could not merely envision his masterpieces, but also craft them by hand.

“Balenciaga is a couturier in the truest sense of the word. Only he is capable of cutting material, assembling a creation, and sewing it by hand. The others are simply fashion designers.” -Coco Chanel

The Future of Balenciaga

Alexander Wang, the twenty-something American designer famous for his punky take on fashion took over the fashion house as creative director in December. The brands popularity has particularly surged after they chose Kristen Stewart, of Twilight fame, as the face of this high-end brand.

Click here for a historical timeline of the Balenciaga brand.

Balenciaga Musuem Getaria

The Balenciaga Musuem in Getaria, Spain.

Visit the Balenciaga Museum in Basque Country

Take advantage of living in Spain and head to Getaria, Spain for a peek into the life of Balenciaga and his creations at the Museo Cristóbal Balenciaga. The museum features a permanent collection featuring works worn by the Princess of Monaco, Grace Kelly and the wedding dress of the Queen of Belgium.


Aldamar Parkea, 6

20808 Getaria (Gipuzkoa)

Tel.:+34 943008840


From Jun 01 to Sep 30 | From Tuesday to Sunday | Does not close at midday | From 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM

From Oct 01 to May 31 | From Tuesday to Thursday | Does not close at midday | From 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

From Friday to Sunday | Does not close at midday | From 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM | Closed: Monday


General: €8 | Reduced: €5 | Groups 10% discount | Large families 10% discount | Admission free Children 9 years and under

Who’s your favorite Spanish fashion designer?

Photo credit: Balenciaga moto jacket, €2.195 / Balenciaga cut out boots, €590 / Balenciaga , €1.230 / Balenciaga round sunglasses, €300

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