Balenciaga at the V&A

Staying in London for the week, I took a trip to the Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion exhibition at the V&A, one of my favourite museums in London. Here’s a little bit about what I wore and what I saw x

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At the moment I’m really into monochrome and ‘clean’, simple fashion. A lot of my recent looks have evolved around a single colour (usually nude, grey, white or black). Here I thought I’d spice things up with a dusty pink.

My tulle mini skirt was a rogue find in Salamanca, Spain, but you can find similar at Topshop (low stock!), and midi length at H&M and boohoo. Leitmotiv and Liu Jo stock more expensive versions that are currently on sale! To adhere to my monochromatic and clean aesthetic, I wanted to team my skirt with a similar coloured jumper. My nude/pink sweater from Fillippa K, is a couple of seasons old, but I’ve found similar by Rag n BoneRebecca Minkoff, and Rolla’s (all found on Shopbop). By teaming the skirt with a baggy knit you can transform your look from smart to casual. See the photo left for Topshop’s take on the casual/party skirt.

Floral boots by Valentino and necklace/charm bag from Chanel. Similar boots by Dune and Steve Madden and New Look.

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Cristóbal Balenciaga is perhaps most famous for his sculptural take on fashion, his diverse knowledge and use of materials and his experimental play with colour and texture. He was known to his contemporaries as ‘the master’. Apprenticed as a tailor at 12 he gathered a deep understanding and feel for the materials he worked with from a young age. It is this knowledge that encouraged him to experiment greatly with form, creating iconic pieces that obscured the femenine figure, such as the envelope dress of 1967, and his famous one-seamed dresses, pictured below.


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In the above image, you can see some of the multiple textures that the designer worked with: embroidery, sequins and tassels, feathers, plastic, and silk.

Christian Dior, a friend and rival once said that “Haute couture is like an orchestra whose conductor is Balenciaga. We other couturiers are the musicians and we follow the direction he gives.”

It was a pleasure to be invited to understand and see how Balenciaga developed his ideas into stunning and striking haute couture designs. The exhibition follows his development from a tailor, to a high-profile designer and onto the impact and legacy of his work.

For example; the pink coat pictured above by Rei Kawakubo (Comme des Garçons) captures the sculptural and voluminous nature of some of Balenciaga’s most experimental works.

Meanwhile this gown by Oscar de la Renta (who worked briefly as a sketch artist in Balenciaga’s Madrid salon in the mid 1950’s) demonstrates his influence on the manipulation of texture. The Yves Saint Laurent cocktail dress pictured right is directly comparable to some of Balenciaga’s early work and his obsession with sequins and feathers.

I left the exhibition with a newfound awareness of Balenciaga’s impact on today’s fashion and an understanding of how his immersion in tailoring so early in his life allowed him to harness his talent into perfection in execution.

A truly fantastic exhibition- catch it before it finishes in February! Tickets available on the V&A website here.

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After a long morning at the V&A, we stopped off at Le Pain Quotidien just around the corner for lunch, followed by an ice cream at Venchi, my absolute favourite gelateria in the world.

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This is a very big picture of my ice cream, symbolic of how much I enjoyed it. Crema di Venchi, yeh baby.

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Yummy

I mean look how happy I am. I think that’s proof. Everyone go to Venchi.

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We stopped off at Gail’s to pick up some scones and then took a walk through Hyde Park.

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All in all, a lovely day xx

 

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