Balenciaga – Rebel with a Cause!

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 His bubble skirts and odd, feminine, yet ultra-modern shapes were trademarks of the house. Cristóbal Balenciaga opened his first boutique in San Sebastián, Spain, in 1914, which expanded to include branches in Madrid and Barcelona. The 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. The designer house is now run by Nicolas Ghesquière.

Balenciaga opened his Paris couture house on Avenue George V in August 1937, and his first runway show featured designs heavily influenced by the Spanish Renaissance. Balenciaga’s success in Paris was nearly immediate. Within two years, the French press lauded him as a revolutionary, and his designs were highly sought-after. Carmel Snow, the editor of Harper’s Bazaar was an early champion of his designs.

Balenciaga is now owned by the Gucci Group (PPR), and its women’s wear and menswear is headed by Nicolas Ghesquière. There was some conflict within the house of Balenciaga on Nicolas Ghesquiere’s designs. The Gucci group said that if Balenciaga didn’t become profitable within the year 2007, they would replace him. Ghesquière’s F/W 2005 line showed that the house was not only profitable, but also attracted a number of celebrity customers including Vogue Editor-in-Chief, Anna Wintour.

The house of Balenciaga designed the dresses worn by Jennifer Connelly and Nicole Kidman to the 2006 Academy Awards, as well as the wedding gown Kidman wore for her recent marriage to Keith Urban. Kylie Minogue has also wore a Balenciaga dress for her "Slow" music video and for her concert tour.

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