If there’s a brand that is so good creating new trends and dictate them on the entire fashion industry, that is Balenciaga. We’re not talking about these last few years: you just need to read its history to understand how it has always been a cool brand. Thanks to 3 great designers that made it one of the most successful luxury maison ever: Cristobal Balenciaga, the visionary founder; Nicolas Ghesquière, the man who made it cool again; Demna Gvasalia, the creative director that since 2016 is ruling the fashion world. Take a seat, The Blonde Salad is going to tell you Balenciaga history through its 3 iconic designers!
Cristobal Balenciaga, the master of couture
“Only Balenciaga is a real couturier”. Who said these words? Well, Coco Chanel! She was sure about it because Balenciaga, before being a designer, was a tailor. Cristobal, born in Getaria (Spain) in 1895, inherited this skill from his mother, who worked in a fashion atelier, and turned it into its best excellence, that will make him one of the most iconic designer of all time. With its first atelier founded in 1915 in San Sebastian and with the opening, in 1937, of its maison in Paris, in Avenue Georges V, Balenciaga soon became one of the most beloved couturier by elite clients, such as Jackie Kennedy, Ava Gardner and Ingrid Bergman.
Fashion experts agree in defining him the designer that best understood the need of contemporary in feminine fashion. Balenciaga’s elegance was never too much, it was actually so interiorised that it was very difficult to understood at the first sight. If Christian Dior‘s New Look was built on hourglass silhouette, created with corsets, Balenciaga’s style was the opposite: according to him, women needed to be free… and comfortable as well! Supporting this theory, he created iconic pieces like the semi-ajusté suit, the tunic and the sack dress.
As a true couturier, Balenciaga fiercely opposed to the rise of pret à porter. That’s why he decided to retire in 1968, a few years before his death in 1972. His protegé Hubert de Givenchy took his heritage and spent his entire life spreading Balenciaga’s words about fashion and style. He was the one that made the Cristobal Balenciaga Museum in Getaria, opened in 2011, a dream come true. If you would like to know more about this iconic designer, you should schedule a trip in Spain soon!
Nicolas Ghesquière, the designer that made Balenciaga cool again
After Balenciaga passed away, the maison laid dormant until 1986, when Jacques Bogart decided to reopen it. But it’s only in 1997, with Nicolas Ghesquière at its creative helm, that the brand turned into a cult griffe. Ghèsquiere had the same visionary talent of his well known predecessor: his forecasting view on fashion and his contemporary attitude, embodied by clothes and accessories. In the first 2000s Balenciaga became cool again and started to dictate its view on the entire fashion worlds. Ghesquière, during his 15 years tenure at the maison, always looked back to Cristobal Balenciaga’s personal life and archives. It’s impossibile not to see how Ghesquière style has impacted our sense of fashion and style!
Ghesquière created so many cult pieces for Balenciaga, from sculpted mini dresses to robot leggings, sweaters inspired by heavy metal bands merchandising and the iconic Ceinture boots. The one and only Balenciaga by Ghesquière bag? No doubt, it’s the Motorcycle Bag!
Demna Gvasalia: Cristobal attitude made contemporary
After Ghesquière farewell to the maison in 2012 and Alexander Wang’s short tenure, the house of Balenciaga met its 3rd iconic designer in 2016. It’s Demna Gvasalia, cult fashion brand Vetements founder and since then Balenciaga’s creative director. Cristobal’s heritage is always recognizable in his work: he actually redesigned some iconic archive pieces, like the sack dresses, with his urban cool touch.
Thanks to Gvasalia post modern aesthetic, Balenciaga became a cult brand among streetwear fans through super easy pieces like maxi duvet or parkas and Triple S and Speed sneakers, the most tagged shoes on Instagram of all time! Do you know who is a fan? Chiara Ferragni, that recently purchased some amazing yellow neon Speed sneakers!
But it’s also a brand beloved by cool girls like Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner, that are so into its poshest attires, like asymmetric blazers and shimmer cuissards!
Instagram is the place to be for Balenciaga’s fans. Besides the official account @balenciaga, you should also follow @balenciagafiles, a real throwback to Cristobal Balenciaga and Nicolas Ghesquière’s collections, and @balenciagaonline, where all Demna Gvasalia’s supporters are!
Do you wanto to discover all the iconic looks that made Balenciaga’s history? You can find them all below, in our georgeous gallery!