The Palais Galliera opened its “Spanish Season” this year with the stunning “Balenciaga, l’oeuvre au noir” (“Balenciaga, working in black”) at the Musée Bourdelle. Running through July 16th, the exhibition features over one hundred pieces from the famed couturier, Cristóbal Balenciaga (1895-1972). The museum, a former studio of the sculptor Antoine Bourdelle (1861-1929), provides a striking, rustic backdrop for the mostly black-hued Balenciaga clothing and accessories on display.
After launching his career in Spain, Cristóbal Balenciaga moved to Paris during the Spanish Civil War, gaining fame as a master of haute couture in the 1950s and ‘60s. Known for his sculptural designs, many of which are shown alongside the sculptures of the Musée Bourdelle, he reshaped women’s silhouettes and set himself apart with his exquisite tailoring.
By focusing on his work in black, “Balenciaga, l’oeuvre au noir” draws attention to shape rather than color. The exhibition begins with “Silhouettes and Volumes,” highlighting the precise cuts and proportions of many structured or draped garments that might still be considered modern today. This is followed by “Black and Light,” where satin, taffeta, lace, sequins, and beads add eye-catching texture and shine to formal black attire. The last section, “Black and Color,” showcases black with accents of white, red, and pink.
With its emphasis on structure and craftsmanship, “Balenciaga, l’oeuvre au noir” presents an impressive collection of the designer’s work. Bourdelle’s atelier turns out to be the perfect setting for the elegant, sculptural designs.
“Balenciaga, l’oeuvre au noir” is open to the public through July 16th, 2017 at the Musée Bourdelle (18 rue Antoine Bourdelle, Paris 75015). For more information, visit www.bourdelle.paris.fr.
Lead photo credit : Balenciaga, l'oeuvre au Noir at the Musée Bourdelle. Photo: Pierre Antoine
By Rohini Gupta
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